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  • A winning mixture of slapstick with sentiment, this black and white Republic Pictures vehicle for talented bumpkin Judy Canova profits from the well-liked comedienne's vaudeville background, thereby evading sugary components that should have lessened the appeal of a work that additionally includes a very experienced cast and crew under the able direction of veteran Charles Lamont. Canova, playing as herself, is employed as charwoman and general maintenance worker at her aunt's hotel in "Greebville", striving to earn enough money to cover mortgage payments for her run-down "ranch" where she lives along with three orphaned youngsters and, as a means of forestalling boredom, Judy is also subscribing to a mail order course with the Continental Correspondence School, hoping therewith to find true love. After fibbing to her aunt and cousin that she has already found a beau, the fanciful "Poindexter March" who is coming while on military leave to visit her by bus, Judy is driven to the town's bus station where she desperately accosts a single man (Robert Lowery) and persuades him to pose as her swain, presenting a golden opportunity for him, because he is a confidence man, and her abrupt attachment to him enables "Poindexter" to shift into high gear with his crime partner for a swindle of the locals, eventually drawing out the greedy worst from Judy's relatives along with the small town's banker. The film, shot in the San Fernando Valley, is paced nicely, having nary a dull moment, and editing by Arthur Roberts is accomplished in crisp fashion. Considered a musical comedy, the work showcases Canova performing three numbers, including her well-known rendition of "Sleepy Serenade" and a newly composed novelty item, "I'm Awful Glad I Was Born On My Birthday", all lip synched here. The film's characters are more provincial than hayseed, and a well-written screenplay supplies interest within a viewer for each. Sprightly Canova is always enjoyable to watch in action, and she is ably backed here by a talented supporting cast of largely seasoned actors, Richard Deacon gaining performing honours for his astringently humorous turn as an avaricious bank official attempting to foreclose upon Judy's ranch for his personal financial benefit, while even the three children cared for by Canova play smoothly, closely coached by director Lamont.
  • I wish so much that family friendly comedy like this packed the theaters today. Nice plot twists and surprising talent from Judy Canova. Good blend of slapstick and situation comedy. My favorite line: "I was upstairs in the attic settin' mousetraps." I have to use that line sometime. The banker is played by a staple from the Dick Van Dyke show. He played "Mel". Can you name him? Watch for some low-key pathos as this country bumpkin manages her dignity, and her love for a houseful of orphans, in a sea of sharks. This may not seem related, but in the world of ballet, I recall how Ballerina Christine Sarry described the role of the cowgirl from Copland's "Rodeo". If you're not careful, you will break your neck doing those moves. In this film, Judy Canova, a skilled performer, must act like an awkward country girl, who is practicing body movements she learned from a fake charm school. There is a scene where the body control for this stunt was impressive, as it was funny. Turn on to Judy Canova. I must find more of her.
  • Although Judy Canova was very popular back in the day, today most folks have never heard of her nor know about his popularity on the radio and in films. Her old fashioned country humor and yodeling are a bit passe today. However, despite her fading popularity, I had a good time watching "Lay That Rifle Down" and, shockingly, my extremely difficult to please wife liked the movie as well.

    When the story begins, Judy is working like a slave for her nasty old aunt. Despite being a nice person, her work seems unappreciated....much like a more modern Cinderella.

    Among the many ways the Aunt likes to have fun is making fun of Judy. In particular, she likes to remind her that she isn't pretty and has no man in her life. In a panic, Judy blurts out that she DOES have a boyfriend and he's visiting town soon. The family decides to call Judy on this and they insist on going down to the bus station to meet him. So, in a very funny scene, Judy approaches a random man getting off the bus and begs him to pretend to be her new boyfriend. Oddly, he really seems to enjoy this...and kisses her very passionately in front of everyone! Is this an answer to her prayers? Maybe...but what she doesn't realize is that this man is a crook! How can this crook actually turn out to be a GOOD think in Judy's life?!

    This film is well written and engaging. Further, Canova never (thank God) yodels. And, one of her songs is actually very sweet and she has a lovely voice. This combined with likeable characters and a very satisfying finale make this a picture worth seeing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is what I call a see it and forget-it movie. True, it's mildly entertaining while you're actually watching it, but two or three hours later, it's had to recall more than one or two of its comic episodes. In fact, the one I remember is a scene that the stars, Judy Canova and Robert Lowery, did not appear in at all, in which the villain forced the banker to cash a check that was so large that it made him search out all the cash he had in the bank – even down to the coins. In fact, the said banker was right near the end of counting out bags of these coins when – well I won't spoil the plot for you. Suffice it to say that Miss Canova sings a few forgettable songs and has a grand time pitching in a bit of slapstick now and then. And she is not nearly as strident here as she appears in some of her other screen incarnations. In fact, Charles Lamont's direction is even a notch or two above his usual humdrum competence.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    That's Judy Canova, a garland of laughs rather than song. Yes, she did sing (one of the singers of "The Lady in Red" when it was first heard on screen), and if her voice isn't Kathryn Grayson, it isn't Minnie Mouse, either. But Ms. Canova was known primarily as a comedian, a self-effacing one who like Fanny Brice used her own created less than glamorous image to make fun of herself. A biography on her quotes her in one movie referring to being taken to a zoo by her parents as a child, and the zoo wouldn't take her. Yes, her comedy is obviously based upon the old vaudeville style, and thrown in with a little bit of slapstick and song, the results are highly amusing.

    In this, one of her last leading lady roles, she is the Cinderella like niece of Jacqueline deWit, a nasty aunt who is determined to get her hands on a farm left to Canova by her parents. Ms. deWit is in cahoots with sleazy attorney Richard Deacon ("The Dick Van Dyke Show", "The Mothers-in-Law") to get Canova to sign it over, but for some reason, Canova refuses to give it up. She is also a secret romantic, making up a non-existing love interest in hopes her prince will appear, and after crying wolf (or at least hoping one will show up), her prince does show up to rescue her just as her aunt demands to meet her newest beau, simply in order to humiliate her. He is Robert Lowery, and he is every country bumpkin girl's dream. Together, Canova and Lowery do their best to outwit aunt Jacqueline when he informs her that a rare weed growing on the farm could make her a fortune.

    Canova belts out a couple of silly songs here, sends out her supply of witty lines and gets into all sorts of trouble which works out for her in the end. Lowery is handsome and charming, yet there is a bit of the con-artist in him, too, which adds on all sorts of plot twist possibilities. It's really a lot of fun to watch the two of them work together to outwit the greedy aunt and attorney which results in an ironic twist at the end after the typical slapstick chase sequence where all is revealed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Lay That Rifle Down" is the first film with Judy Canova that I have watched: she is a talented comedienne (especially in the physical sense), but the script here gives her few opportunities to truly cut loose. As Leonard Maltin correctly notes, there is quite a bit of "Cinderella" in this story, except that the male lead's goals do not exactly fit into the profile of a Prince Charming. Judy's real-life daughter Tweeny has a relatively extended part, and she's not bad at all. Veteran director Charles Lamont, who also helmed several Abbott & Costello movies, keeps things going despite a low budget. The picture is harmless, but short on big laughs - which may sufficient when you're in an undemanding mood. ** out of 4.