About half the action in this musical comedy supposedly takes place at the Sun Valley ski resort in Idaho. However, all of the action actually takes place in various California locations. Two years earlier, Fox had released the very popular musical comedy "Sun Valley Serenade", much of which was filmed at Sun Valley. The theme song was "It Happened in Sun Valley", which I chose as my review title.
As in nearly all of the early Abbott and Costello(A&C) films(excepting "Who Done It) there are a number of songs, probably too many, all concentrated in the latter half, supposedly in Sun Valley. Willowy, and beautifully elegant, Ginny Simms is the primary soloist, often abetted by The Four Teens(who looked to be older than teens) and/or a larger chorus, and with Johnny Long's Orchestra supplying the melody. All the songs are well suited to Ginny's style, and all were composed by the team of Harry Revel and Paul Francis Webster. This duo also composed the songs for the previous A&C film "It Ain't Hay". If you would like to see and hear Ginny in Technicolor, I can recommend "Night and Day" or "Broadway Rhythm". For Ginny's character, 'It happened in Sun Valley', as she became engaged to orchestra leader Johnny Long by film's end, disappointing Costello who thought he was going to be the groom.
I thought the verbal comedy was especially strong here. I take notes for my reviews, and my notes for this film were especially copious, which usually means I found it interesting.
The screen play begins with gangster Silky Fellowsly in the hospital, with his only apparent symptom a vacillating fever(induced by a pill he takes). He's hoping to slip out of the hospital unnoticed, rob a nearby bank, and slip back into his bed without anyone noticing(quite an achievement!) That way, he has an apparent alibi for not being at the scene of the robbery. Unfortunately for him, his nurse noticed his absence, but by the time she got the doctor to confirm it, Silky was back in his bed, so the doctor didn't believe he disappeared. Before the robbery, A&C entered his room(why?)with their cameras. They talk about shooting(photographing) people, so Silky assumes that they are the 2 hit men from Detroit that are supposed to show up for the robbery(Apparently, the real hit men never showed up). The miscommunication between Silky and the boys is hilarious. Examples: Silky:" What do you do for a living?" Lou: "We shoot people". Silky: How do you shoot them?" Lou: "We stand them up against a wall". Lou: "That gives me time to shoot a couple other people first". A&C still think their role in the robbery is to take pictures of the gangsters when they emerge from the bank, which they do. However, A&C become the prime suspects, as they enter the bank(why?) and find everyone gaged and tied up in the vault. "They're all tied up in the back" explains Abbott to the policeman when he inquires where everyone is. Accidentally, Costello hits the burglar alarm button, and police swarm. But, both the robbers and A&C manage to get on the train for Sun Valley. The boys don't even attempt to disguise themselves, despite good drawings of them having appeared in the paper! Silky's doctor and nurse also get on the train, as do Ginny and Johnny Long's band. The nurse tries to make a play for the doctor, but he doesn't respond, so she is mad.
A&C are hired as waiters and Costello has quite a time trying to deliver orders on skates. He 'hits the ice' many times. Abbott does much better. Meanwhile, they attempt to recover at least some of the stolen money by blackmailing the gangsters with said photos of them exiting from the bank. They refuse to show the photo, but the gangsters reluctantly take their word for it, until Lou is knocked out and they find the worthless photo on his body.
A&C find the satchel with the money in it in a ski cabin. They try to make a getaway on their dog sled, but only Ginny gets away(At the cabin, she seemingly changed from being the gangsters' moll into aiding A&C). The boys then don skis they find in a shed and get a head start on the gangsters, who are not far behind them on skis. Of course, Costello, especially, has a perilous journey on his skis. At one point, he lands on top of Abbott. Then, a bear is on the back of his skis for a while. He ends up inside a giant snowball, with Silky, the other 2 gangsters having been knocked out by hitting a tree.
Yes, it's all silliness, often disjointed, and unbelievable, but that's what A&C films are all about. If you can't accept that, better not watch them. For that reason, they are best suited for kids.