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  • Ron Oliver7 November 2005

    Two housewives engage in BARGAIN MADNESS while competing for the best merchandise at a department store sale.

    Eccentric Pete Smith narrates this enjoyable little comedy which illustrates how a couple of friendly neighbors can become bitter rivals over the possession of a bargain-priced girdle.

    Often overlooked or neglected today, the one and two-reel short subjects were useful to the Studios as important training grounds for new or burgeoning talents, both in front & behind the camera. The dynamics for creating a successful short subject was completely different from that of a feature length film, something akin to writing a topnotch short story rather than a novel. Economical to produce in terms of both budget & schedule and capable of portraying a wide range of material, short subjects were the perfect complement to the Studios' feature films.
  • A Smith called Pete produces this one-reel comedy about how Dorothy Short (the wife of the short's director and co-writer) goes downtown to fight a dozen other women for the goods on sale at a department store.

    It's shot wild (i.e., without sound) and narrated by Pete Smith in his usual mixture of corniness and sarcasm., with lots of slapstick falls and crossed eyes. Nowadays we'd say it was stereotyped, but in the aftermath of the Second World War, when goods were in short supply, sales were important for the one-income family rebuilding wealth. Miss Short fights her best friend, Sally Payne, while the hefty Maxine Gates tries to wriggle into a girdle six sizes too small; and Heaven help the men working at the store who get in their way!
  • This is a quite hilarious Pete Smith Specialty in which two housewives are determined to have first pick at a department store bargain sale, no matter how much tugging they have to do.

    But what struck me was the scene showing the crowds waiting outside the store's doors awaiting access, pushing against the door windows and then stampeding into the store, knocking "Dorothy" to the ground while they stepped over her. In view of recent headlines about just such an event that ended tragically, it's hard not to call this sort of thing "madness." Funniest episode has an overweight woman determined to squeeze into a girdle with the clips returning to her every once in awhile as she tries on still another. It's a scene reminiscent of the Disney Cinderella's step-sisters trying to squeeze their big feet into a dainty glass slipper.

    Plenty of amusing sight gags fill up the screen time, so it's a very enjoyable short subject with amusing sound effects as well punctuating the humorous aspects.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Bargain Madness" is an American black-and-white comedy short film from 1951, so this one is sool 70 years old. It was directed and co-written by (then not yet) Emmy winner Dave O'Brien (as David Barclay), but the star in this little MGM movie is Oscar winner Pete Smith who narrates as always. This is a little film about women who are dedicated to buying items at a department store that are reduced for a while. I'm sure highly dedicated feminists will find examples of sexism in here, but I personally would disagree. Still that does not make it a funny movie. The idea of clothes getting stuck in a bus door or people forgetting their money at home and being too fat to fit in a tiny piece of underwear may be as harmless as it gets, but that does not make it particularly funny admittedly. Smith gave it his all with the narration, but the material just isn't good enough and the people you see in here are also no female equivalents talent-wise to Laurel and Hardy, that much is safe. The only scene I somewhat enjoyed was when we see the women enter the store and hear a voice that sounds as if they are taking part in a horse race. This actually felt like taken right out of an old Goofy cartoon. I enjoyed it. But it did not make up for the rest of the mediocrity you will find in here from start to finish. Only worth seeing for the very biggest Pete Smith fans. I give it a thumbs-down. Watch something else instead.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    . . . MET SALLY, but that was nothing compared to the fireworks torched off as "Sally" tries to beat "Dorothy" to a department store sale in BARGAIN MADNESS. "Harry" might have risked losing his shirt over "Sally," but Dot actually DOES lose her skirt due to Sal's shenanigans. Duster "Buster" falls to the wayside as stretchy girdles take these battling gals for a gay ride. "Mrs. Broadbeam" has eaten too much ice cream, so catching her "trying on" undies is enough to make the squad from vice scream: "Cease and desist, ma'am, you won't fit--now scram!" Guys seldom get a chance to view ladies sizing up lingerie, so BARGAIN MADNESS conjures up a jamboree of jealous jousting over "juniors," "petites," and "pluses-for-the-roasting." One might quibble that this short's narration is pronounced to produce salacious titillation, but such a quaint qualm would qualify as an evasion of the BARGAIN MADNESS "Damsel to Dumbo" equation.
  • Michael_Elliott23 December 2008
    Bargain Madness (1951)

    ** (out of 4)

    Pete Smith Specialty has a woman leaving home early to get in on some bargains but her trouble starts as soon as she walks out the door and doesn't get any better when she gets to the store. This is a mildly entertaining Smith short that probably works just as good today as it did in 1951 since you can't help but think of Black Friday sales while watching this. With that in mind, some of the comedy bits with people getting trampled don't really make you laugh but there are still a few good moments. A lot of the humor comes from an overweight woman who is constantly trying to fit into clothes that are way too small for her.