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  • Fans of Mickey Rooney will enjoy this movie although its not one of his best. He appears a bit older than his girlfriend (the beautiful Terry Moore, 10 years his junior), but at times you don't notice it. He plays an orange tester who inherits his uncle's magic act (and Jimmy the Crow) and accidentally stumbles across a payroll robbery. There are some comical moments, especially when he is trying to learn the act as well as his interactions with Jimmy. But the picture is mostly to show off Moore in one of her first starring roles. Rooney's career unfortunately was going the other way. Luckily for his fans, the resilient Rooney never gave up and rebounded several years later.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Mickey Rooney (Freddie Frisby), Terry Moore (Judy Sears), William Demarest (Bob Sears), Charles Ami (J.B. Caldwell), Ross Ford (Ralph Caldwell), Ned Glass (Sam Phillips), Mike Mazurki ("Lunk" Boxwell), Douglas Fowley (Boss "Grabs" Freeley), William "Bill" Phillips ("Pick" Reedley), Ruth Warren (Jenny Morrison), Eddy Waller (Pops Dunlap), Frank Ferguson (Sheriff Oliver).

    Director: PETER GODFREY. Original Screenplay: Jack Henley. Photography: Lester White. Film editor: Richard Fantl. Art director: Victor Greene. Set decorator: Louis Diage. Gowns: Jean Louis. Music director: Mischa Bakaleinikoff. Assistant director: Carter DeHaven, Jr. Technical advisor (orange packing): May Leon. Sound engineer: Jack Goodrich. Producer: Rudolph C. Flothow.

    Copyright 12 September 1950 by Columbia Pictures Corp. New York release at the Palace: 19 October 1950. U.S. release: September 1950. U.K. release: 27 November 1950. Sydney release at the Capitol: 9 February 1951 (1 week only). Australian release: 9 February 1951. 6,961 feet. 77 minutes.

    SYNOPSIS: Town misfit inherits a truckload of magic tricks from his late uncle.

    NOTES: Peter Godfrey of The Two Mrs Carrolls, Cry Wolf and The Woman in White, reduced to directing a "B" at Columbia.

    COMMENT: Despite its unfortunate title and thumbs-down contemporary reviews, I found this little film surprisingly amusing. Peter Godfrey's direction shows no sign of flagging spirits, being brisk and well-paced. Production credits, headed by Lester White's excellent photography, are uniformly good; and by Columbia's humble "B" standards, the budget is remarkably lavish.

    The players are in fine fettle. The script provides Rooney with one really hilarious sequence in which he ineptly tries his new-found magic tricks on Demarest and Ford. As well, there are some bright jokes ("Let the bird do it!") abetted by all-round spirited playing which give this little comedy undeniable entertainment appeal.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Young Freddie Frisby(Mickey Rooney)looses his job as a orange sorter at Bob Sears'(William Demerest)packing plant. Trying to impress the boss' daughter, Judy(Terry Moore), Freddie messes up for the last time and is hastily fired. Things begin to look up when he finds he has inherited his uncle's estate. Judy by his side, Freddie realizes he has inherited a box of magic tricks with instructions. So young Mr. Frisby decides to become a magician with Judy as his assistant. Behind Mr. Sears' back, the two love birds try to find a secret location to practice magic tricks and end up kidnapped by hoodlums, planning a payroll robbery.

    You can at times see the age difference between Rooney and Moore, but it really makes no distraction. The couple work well with each other. Not exactly one of Mickey's better flicks, but interesting enough.

    Peter Godfrey directs and the cast also features: Charles Arnt, Douglas Fowley, Mike Mazurki and Ned Glass.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As absurd as the premise is--orange sorter inherits 'fortune' and attempts to establish a new career as master magician--there's still plenty to enjoy in He's a Cockeyed Wonder. Mickey Rooney is as fun and lively as ever as hapless fruit worker Freddie Frisby, whilst Terry Moore is delightful and attractive as gal pal Judy Sears. Then there's the always reliable, always grouchy William Demarest as Judy's father Bob (who also happens to be Freddie's boss), as well as Mike Mazurki in his usual role as a none too bright heavy. Surprisingly well shot by Andy Hardy veteran Lester White, this briskly paced Columbia second feature is perfect entertainment on a cold winter's night.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Milquetoast Mickey Rooney plays a sorter at an orange packing factory who can do no well in foreman William Demarest's eyes, but has caught the affections of Demarest's lovely daughter, Terry Moore. Like all of the ladies who found Jerry Lewis's bumbling characters adorable, Rooney brings out Moore's motherly instincts which just drives Demarest nuts. Then, Rooney inherits his late uncle's estate, which basically consists of a small amount of cash and his magic act. Prectictably, bad guys arrive in town in the guise of bank robbers, and it is Rooney who saves the day.

    While predictable and not too intelligent, the film has some fine farcial moments typical of the comedies that Columbia was doing at this time, most notably the handful of Lucille Ball movies ("The Fuller Brush Girl" and "Her Husband's Affairs"), to name a few, and "The Fuller Brush Man" and "The Good Humor Man". Obviously made cheaply, "He's a Cockeyed Wonder" is merely OK with some funny moments involving the magic tricks, but lacks the farcial elements of several of the earlier movies I mentioned.

    Rooney, on a career dive after leaving MGM with flops like "Summer Holiday" (and a critically lambasted performance as Lorenz Hart in "Words and Music"), gets to be more low key and less Andy Hardy-like than normal, and that's a good thing. He's more like the characters that Buster Keaton and occasionally Joe E. Brown got to play. Terry Moore is lovely, and Demarest is appropriately crabby. The villains are typically dumb. Rather than utilize the magic to confuse the robbers into submission, the writers utilize an old farm with skunks, barns and a well. This results in an ending missing what was expected and is a major let down.