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Julie was a great suspense thriller for Doris Day
Doris Day plays the title character, Louis Jourdan her jealous husband Lyle, and Barry Sullivan is her friend Cliff who tries to help her the best he can concerning Lyle's possible actions. We find out early enough what happened to Julie's previous spouse and so the chase begins. Having just watched several airline disaster movies including the entire Airport series, I had a need to watch this one because of the climatic scene when Ms. Day's character-who's a stewardess-is forced to land a plane, which anticipates nearly 20 years later Karen Black's situation in Airport 1975. Since I don't want to reveal any more of the plot, I'll just say that Julie was an excellent thriller. This was one of Ms. Day's most underrated works, that's for sure!

The High and the Mighty

The High and the Mighty was a fine early airline disaster flick
While I had previously watched this on HBO back in the mid-'80s, I hardly remembered much of it from back then since so much of what I watched of this just now online was new to me. John Wayne is a pilot with a past. Robert Stack is the captain of the plane Wayne works under. We get to know many of the passengers through dialogue and flashbacks. Among the supporting cast is Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer-a former "Our Gang"er who appeared in this film about 8 years after also doing a scene in my favorite movie, It's a Wonderful Life. Speaking of that picture, the person who scored that one-Dimitri Tiomkin-also scored this one winning a deserved Oscar for it. Another supporting player I recognized was William Schallert when he was much younger and who I just watched in an outtake from The Concorde-Airport '79 when he was much older. The disaster depicted here concerns an engine about to lose power before the plane can make its destination. This was quite an exciting flick and I love much of the drama involving the passengers and crew. Wayne and Stack are aces in the cockpit when sharing dialogue. Director William A. Wellman, a pilot himself, sure knows how to stage plane sequences. So that's a recommendation of The High and the Mighty.

The Concorde... Airport '79

The Concorde...Airport '79 is an enjoyably ridiculous final entry in the series
For the final time, George Kennedy returns as Joe Patroni in the fourth and last Airport movie. This time, Joe is the pilot captain of the title plane along with Alain Delon. Robert Wagner is being accused of selling arms to enemy countries which his news reporter romantic partner Susan Blakely plans to reveal on her TV show. Jimmie Walker of "Good Times" is a jazz musician and Martha Raye, in her final film role, has to constantly use the restroom. Reporter John Davidson is in love with a Soviet gymnast. I'll just say right now that George Kennedy is the best thing in this series entry. He seems to have the time of his life having the lion's share of scenes this time around. Otherwise, this entry seems to have more ridiculous scenes than the others (dig the constant sequences of the plane turning upside down as passengers are screaming). At least it's not boring and there are good amusements from Walker, Ms. Raye, and even a cameo by Charo with a little dog! So my advice is turn off your brain and just enjoy The Concorde...Airport '79. By the way, I'll soon review Airplane! And its sequel but before I do that, I'll first review some other airline disaster films pre-Airport starting with The High and the Mighty...

Airport '77

Airport '77 continues the exciting airline disaster series
In this third Airport entry, Jack Lemmon is the plane captain, therefore the hero, and Brenda Vaccaro is his romantic partner but unlike previously, she's not a stewardess but an assistant to rich art collector Jimmy Stewart who's sending his paintings on board to his museum for the grand opening. Christopher Lee isn't a villain here but a diver who wants to help Lemmon when the plane ends up in the Bermuda Triangle. Besides Stewart, other long-time movie stars appearing include Olivia de Havilland and Joseph Cotton. Oh, and George Kennedy once again appears as Joe Patroni, once again barking orders. This was another exciting entry in this airline disaster series so that's a recommendation for Airport '77.

Airport 1975

Despite its bad reputation, I rather enjoyed Airport 1975
Two years after he did Skyjacked, Charlton Heston did another airline disaster movie, this time a sequel to the original Airport. Also back is George Kennedy as Joe Petroni who this time is a vice president in charge of operations. Karen Black is the stewardess that Heston has a relationship with this time though at the beginning they're unsure where it's going. Legendary movie star Gloria Swanson appears as herself in her final film. In another relation to Skyjacked, while Jeanne Crain appeared in that one, her co-star from the 1945 State Fair Dana Andrews did this one. Also, while there was a near collision in Heston's previous plane movie, here it actually happens though Heston wasn't the pilot on either plane so he's not the cause. He later becomes the pilot after that collusion causes a hole in the cockpit killing two of the pilots and injuring the remaining one. Black's character then has to navigate the controls with help from Heston and Kennedy and others talking to her on the radio. I recognized also a plot point that would later be spoofed in Airplane!-that of a singing nun played here by pop singer Helen Reddy looking after a sick girl waiting for a transplant played by The Exorcist's Linda Blair. I remember reading this being one of "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time" in that book from 1978 but to tell the truth, I don't share that opinion. To me, this was pretty entertaining from beginning to end. Oh, and among some soon-to-become-TV-stars appearing here are Erik Estrada later of "CHiPs" and Sharon Gless later of "Cagney and Lacey". Though I admit I didn't recognize the latter. Okay, I'm going to review Airport '77 next...


Skyjacked was Charlton Heston's first airline disaster movie
Having just finally watched the original Airport, I thought I'd then watch the sequels that followed. But before going to the next one, I felt like taking a detour to something similar made along the same lines, this one I'm now reviewing called Skyjacked, partly because of the premise but also because it stars Charlton Heston who'd later appear in Airport 1975 a few years later. He's the captain of the plane who once had an affair with Yvette Mimieux the head stewardess. Like the original Airport, this has a bomb carrier and a pregnant lady. The latter is played by Mariette Hartley who'd later achieve TV fame for her appearances in Polaroid camera commercials with James Garner who would be mistaken for her husband as a result. I won't reveal who plays the former. Other cast members include Susan "Laurie Partridge" Dey, Leslie Uggams, Claude Akins, John Fiedler, John Hillerman, a grown Nicholas Hammond long after The Sound of Music, Walter Pidgeon, Jeanne Crain (whose final film this was), Roosevelt Grier, and James Brolin taking a break from "Marcus Welby M. D.". Truth to tell, I found this a little more exciting than Airport though that one took some time with the characterizations and had some good humor while here most of that was gone once the suspense starts. The flashbacks of some of the characters don't seem needed though the celebratory dreams of the antagonist does seem to explain some of his issues with his condition and attitude. All in all, Skyjacked was an entertaining thriller.


This first Airport movie is quite thrilling still
After years of only knowing about this movie and its sequels by reputation (good entertainment not meant to be taken too seriously), I finally watched at least one of them in its entirety for the first time in my life. Burt Lancaster heads an all-star cast as an airport supervisor dealing with an unsatisfied wife, rough winter weather, and crisis concerning one of the passengers. That passenger, Van Heflin, has a bomb. Another passenger, Helen Hayes, is a stowaway who often has ways to fool many associates with her charms. Dean Martin is the captain who has an affair with one of the stewardesses, Jacqueline Bisset, who has a surprise for him. And George Kennedy is the mechanic Joe Patroni who's the only player who'd return for the sequels. All of those cast I mentioned and others who I haven't mentioned do fine whether showing some of their characters' personalities or talking in technical terms concerning flight operation. While some of the story is soap operaish especially concerning Lancaster's wife, lots of it I cared about deeply especially concerning the Bisset character. Many good thrills abound. And Ms. Hayes' character is such a hoot! No wonder she won the Oscar! So that's a recommendation for the original Airport. P. S. The younger of the two daughters of Burt Lancaster's character is Lisa Gerritsen who soon after would be cast as Phyllis Lindstrom's only child Bess on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show".

Joe Kidd

Joe Kidd isn't one of Clint Eastwood's better works
Having long been curious about this Clint Eastwood western, I finally watched this one on Tubi just now. Eastwood plays the title character who has to deal with a Mexican protester (John Saxon) and a landowner who wants to have his way with that protester (Robert Duvall). The action comes in fits and starts and after a while, I found myself confused by some of the plot points and dialogue. I suppose if I were to watch this again some day, I might like this one better. But for now, Joe Kidd is one of Eastwood's lesser vehicles. Even the two women he seems to be romancing don't have much appeal. So I give this one only a mild recommendation.

Sands of Iwo Jima

John Wayne got his first worthy Oscar nomination for Sands of Iwo Jima
In 1980, a year after John Wayne died when I was 12, I watched this movie one Sunday afternoon on "The John Wayne Theatre" on my local Baton Rouge, LA, station. Actually, I watched parts of it. The battle scenes were really exciting and dramatically compelling. I remember also watching parts of this at my local library when that building showed movies on Saturday afternoon. Since it's now after Memorial Day, I thought I'd finally get to watch the whole thing for that day's honor. Wayne got his first Oscar nomination playing Sgt. John Stryker, a hard-as-nails superior officer who cares about the skills of his men in his own way. Off duty, he's depicted as a sometime alcoholic whose wife left him taking their kid with her. In fact, he has a nice scene with a lady he met at the bar and goes to her home when he finds out about her infant son. For the first 30 minutes, we know a little of the men in Stryker's platoon as they take recreation at a dance hall where one of them meets a woman he falls in love with right away. That man, played by John Agar, is revealed to be the son of the man Stryker once served under. So there's some conflict there. Another such friction occurs between another character played by Forrest Tucker who reveals his unfortunate past with Stryker. As someone who watched reruns of "F Troop" as a kid, Tucker is easily recognizable by his voice and face. He could've played Wayne's part if this film had been made 10 years later. While I recognized the differences between newsreel footage and newly shot battle sequences, they were mixed to good effect. Seeing the survivors of the flag-raising event was also good to see. The fate of Stryker and the letter he wrote for his son was also very touching to see and hear. In summary, I consider Sands of Iwo Jima a very good, if not great, film worth watching.

Lost in a Harem

Abbott & Costello are Lost in a Harem
After watching Laurel & Hardy in their second starring M-G-M produced feature, Nothing But Trouble, I'd thought I'd do the same for Abbott & Costello's such for the studio, this one called Lost in a Harem. Speaking of Stan & Ollie, this very movie shares a director, Charles Riesner, who previously helmed them in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (the only other directors who worked with both teams were A. Edward Sutherland and William A. Seiter), and a writer, Harry Crane, who did the same for them in Air Raid Wardens just the year before with Bud & Lou here. Like what he did with L & H there, Riesner also films a magic act with A & C that doesn't go well either time for each team. While usual A & C writer John Grant contributed many of Bud & Lou's familiar routines, it's possible Crane did the bit where they act like termites. Also on hand is Marilyn Maxwell as the fine looking leading lady and John Conte as the prince from a foreign land looking to help her and the boys escape. Ms. Maxwell and Conte were engaged during production though divorced a couple of years later by which time Marilyn joined But & Lou on their radio program as a vocalist. She's quite entertaining in the beginning production number as are Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra in various places. Also entertaining is Douglas Dumbrille as the villain especially when interacting with Costello. Oh, and there's an amusing variation of the "mirror scene" previously done with Groucho and Harpo Marx in Duck Soup and which would later be done with Costello and somebody who looks nothing like him in The Naughty Nineties. Then there's Murray Leonard who does two funny routines with Bud & Lou while playing a derelict in jail with them of which one of them is a variation of the "Niagra Falls" bit that The Three Stooges would do in their short Gents Without Cents in the same year. After this, Mr. Leonard then appeared with them in their first Universal picture back since Lou's bout with rheumatic fever, In Society, though that one was released before this one. Bud & Lou are tops here and the plot moves along nicely in its 90-minute running time. So that's a high recommendation of Lost in a Harem.

Nothing But Trouble

Laurel & Hardy are Nothing But Trouble in their second M-G-M-produced film
This was the second of the M-G-M-produced films that Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy starred in and their last. Coming from a long line of servants, they struggle to find jobs in 1932 in America so they then go to other countries with no success before returning in 1944 and suddenly finding lots of openings. Eventually, dowager Mary Boland desperately hires them as butler and cook. If you're familiar with those two, you know that can't go well. Anyway, after buying their food, they encounter a young teen boy (David Leland) who, unbeknownst to them, is a king from another country who wants desperately to play football with other boys so they agree to referee the game for a short while. I'll stop there and just say that while some lines and gags aren't totally suitable for the boys, they perform them well enough for some good chuckles throughout. My favorite sequence was a mixed food sequence that recalled their mixed hats one from other films of theirs, this time with one of those having some kind of poison. Their scenes with Ms. Boland are amusing enough and Leland provides some good warmth between him, Stan, and Ollie. The director was Sam Taylor who previously worked with Harold Lloyd which would explain why the climatic high rise sequence works well for both thrills and comedy. In summary, Nothing But Trouble isn't a great comedy but is pretty good much of the time. So now that I just reviewed L & H's second M-G-M film, I'll next review Abbott & Costello's second for that same studio, Lost in a Harem.

Rio Rita

Rio Rita marked Abbott & Costello's first film for M-G-M
When Lou Costello decided he wanted to be in show business, one of his first jobs was as a stuntman at M-G-M during the late '20s. After he and Bud Abbott made a success of themselves on radio and Broadway, that same studio made an offer to them for less then $20,000 for a couple of spots in Ziegfeld Girl. Lou turned that down saying to Bud: "I want to be a star, not an 'also featuring' credit behind Judy Garland and Clark Gable." Universal then offered them $35,000 for One Night in the Tropics which featured them in more scenes though they wouldn't be the stars of that one. After their first two starring pictures-Buck Privates and In the Navy-did blockbuster business for Universal, M-G-M head Louis B. Mayer still wanted the team for his movies so a deal was worked out for Metro to give $300,000, half to their home studio and $75,000 each to Bud & Lou for one picture a year. This was their first one. They initially play pet shop employees but, of course, that ends in disaster so they then wind up in Texas near the border at a hotel where some Nazi villains are sneaking around. I'll stop there and just say they're plenty funny courtesy of their routines written by John Grant. John Carroll and Kathryn Grayson are the romantic leads and sing some opera-like songs that are tolerable (That kind of music is usually associated with Laurel & Hardy) but Eros Volusia shakes things up with her number. The M-G-M gloss permeates which is a stark contrast to the more low-budget Universal outings of the team. They did fine in their first film for Leo the Lion. So that's a recommendation for Rio Rita. P. S. Lou's brother-in-law Joe Kirk appears as the pet shop owner at the beginning, Bud's nephew Norman Abbott as a washing machine attendant, and Lou's brother Pat did some of his brother's stunts. So as we leave the team's first M-G-M movie, we'll next visit Laurel & Hardy in their second for the studio, Nothing But Trouble.

Air Raid Wardens

Laurel & Hardy become Air Raid Wardens in their first film actually produced by M-G-M
Before this movie, Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy's association with M-G-M was either as the distributor of their Hal Roach Studios product or as guest stars in the studio's revue-type films like The Hollywood Revue of 1929 and Hollywood Party. So it was that this was their first time actually starring in a movie both distributed and produced by Metro. After not-so-great experiences in their first two 20th Century-Fox pictures, Stan & Babe were looking forward to being loaned to the backlot represented by Leo the Lion. It's there that they once again got to collaborate with writers Charles Rogers and Jack Jevne, director Edward Sedgwick, and fellow actor Edgar Kennedy. They also got to return to their white makeup they preferred but couldn't do at Fox. As a result, they're basically their "Stan & Ollie" characters not forced to do wisecracks like at 20th and got to do multiple visual gags at one's pleasure. Unfortunately, there's also some serious undertones since this one addresses the dangers during World War II of possible Nazi spies hiding in a small town and a civil defense official was consulted during filming and he didn't want his organization made fun of. Still, when the boys get dramatic, we feel for them as they're such sympathetic characters despite their bumbling. In his book "Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies", Randy Skretvedt thought this one was "such a bland and unamusing movie" but while I disagree with him here, I do agree on one point he made about it: he thought showing Stan trying to write his own name was "like being asked to laugh at someone who's mentally retarded" so I didn't laugh during that scene. Especially hilarious to me was the boys tit for tat with Edgar Kennedy reminiscent of similar confrontations with James Finlayson and Charlie Hall. I also agree that the film could have used a music score during some scenes like Marvin Hatley or LeRoy Shield had done at Hal Roach Studios. Before I end this review, I noticed one of the supporting players was from some other pictures I commented on this site recently and sure enough, that player was Russell Hicks who I just watched in L & H's other movie Great Guns and in Abbott & Costello's Buck Privates Come Home. He was also in other A & C vehicles like Hold That Ghost, Ride 'Em Cowboy, and The Noose Hangs High. In summary, Air Raid Wardens was a good L & H flick from their post-Hal Roach period. So now I'm moving from Stan & Ollie's first starring feature at M-G-M in which they deal with Nazis to Bud & Lou's first film at the same studio in which they also deal with those bad guys in Rio Rita.

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Hollywood

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Hollywood provide fun for them in Tinsel Town
After just reviewing the first of two Laurel & Hardy movies Lou Breslow wrote (Great Guns), I thought I'd then review the only film he co-wrote for that other comedy team I've been reviewing lately on this site-Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Hollywood. The two play barbers to the stars who also service an agent which then has them switching careers. Breslow, along with Nat Perrin, wrote some pretty funny routines for Bud & Lou without the help of their usual writer John Grant whose name is prevalent in their Universal releases. This was their third and last M-G-M one. Since this one takes place in Tinsel Town, there are some stars that appear though not Metro's biggest-Clark Gable and Judy Garland are only mentioned but one gets Rags Ragland-a studio comic who gets his unfortunate treatment from Lou in the barber chair, child star Butch Jenkins who Lou tells his version of Little Red Riding Hood with Butch interrupting with nonsense questions, and Lucille Ball-years before her TV superstardom in "I Love Lucy". Like I said, the A & C routines are funny though some probably could have been edited a little. Since this was during the early part of the comedy team's movie career, there are some musical interludes of which the amusement park sequence is a highlight with Costello on a roller coaster providing some good laughs. I especially liked the sequence where he's mistaken for a dummy! So on that note, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in Hollywood is recommended. So as we leave A & C on their last M-G-M picture, we'll next review Laurel & Hardy on their first time actually starring in one actually produced by that studio called Air Raid Wardens.

Great Guns

Laurel & Hardy go Great Guns in their first Fox feature
I first knew about this, Stan & Ollie's first film after leaving the Hal Roach Studios, when reading Randy Skretvedt's book "Laurel & Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies". He himself didn't have many complimentary things to say about it, noting that for the first time in his career, Stan Laurel had no creative control over the material, having been hired by 20th Century-Fox as actor only. Be that as it may, I enjoyed this the first time on VHS some 30 years ago and I still enjoy it now just watching it on YouTube. It's true that some of the characterizations of the Stan & Ollie characters is somewhat violated-they speak a little faster this time around and the two actually do wisecracks, a rarity in their work, but they still provide some good laughs despite that like when Stan has to hide a pet crow and Ollie feels discomfort when Laurel finds one! And lone screenwriter Lou Breslow at least consulted Stan on the script which avoided even more violations of the team's characterizations, such as having them fight over a woman when the Laurel characterization was established as asexual! Breslow later denied that Great Guns was inspired by the success of Abbott & Costello's Buck Privates but his initial script was revealed to have a dialogue scene that directly referenced that. (You can read what that sequence was like in my review of that A & C flick). And cameraman Glen MacWilliams, an old friend of Ollie's, does the team no favors by discarding their usual white makeup. Still, I found much to enjoy in Great Guns. So that's a recommendation. P. S. Leading lady Sheila Ryan would return in L & H's A-Haunting We Will Go as would Breslow and MacWilliams. And having now reviewed Breslow's L & H movie, I will next review his contributions of that other comedy team's film, Bud Abbott & Lou Costello in Hollywood.

Buck Privates Come Home

Buck Privates Come Home was the only sequel Abbott & Costello ever made
When Bud Abbott & Lou Costello made this sequel to their first starring film and first real hit, Buck Privates, their last couple of movies suffered, box-office-wise, because they were playing characters that were only acquainted with each other as opposed to being good friends which was once again the case here. Also, by this period in time, their studio Universal Pictures had merged with International Pictures to become Universal-International. International's founders, William Goetz and Leo Spitz, wanted to fire the team as they were more interested in more prestige pictures but someone must have reminded them that despite their not being as popular as during the war years, A & C still was the most popular stars of the studio. So they made this follow-up to one of their most popular pictures with Nat Pendleton also returning as their often-nemesis Sgt. Collins who goes back to being a cop just as Bud & Lou again become con men selling ties. Mixed in this time is a young pre-teen French girl orphan named Evey (Beverly Simmons) who Lou wants to adopt but can't because he doesn't have a legitimate job and isn't married. There's more but I'll just now mention that the team are once again funny in their own unique way especially with Costello's reactions and physical pratfalls. Pendleton, himself, is also funny in what turned out to be his last film role. Bud & Lou were back in the groove after temporarily changing direction with Little Giant and The Time of Their Lives. If there's some disappointment concerning this movie, it's what I know about a couple of deleted scenes like that of Abbott, Costello, and Evey encountering a shoeshine boy who reveals being an immigrant who got adopted and recites the "Give me your poor, tired..." speech that inspires Lou to find a way to adopt Evey. In that scene, Lou's father Sebastian Cristillo is sitting next to Bud. The other deleted scene concerns Lou in the climatic race car chase smashing through a movie theatre that is showing him in a scene from Romeo & Juliet as Lou-on-film is talking to Lou-in-car before bopping him on the nose! Those two cut sequences might have added to my enjoyment of the film. ( I should note here that I've yet to watch the excised scenes as I only know of them from stills and descriptions in the book "Abbott & Costello in Hollywood" by Bob Furmanek and Ron Palumbo.) Still, there's enough in Buck Privates Come Home for me to recommend it. Oh, and the real estate salesman who sells Bud & Lou a broken-down bus is Lou's brother-in-law Joe Kirk. So as we leave this comedy team from the sequel to their Army comedy, we next go on to Laurel & Hardy in their Army comedy, Great Guns.

Tit for Tat

Laurel & Hardy do Tit for Tat with Charlie Hall
This turned out to be the second Laurel & Hardy short to be nominated for an Oscar after The Music Box which actually won. It's also the only one of their films that could be called a sequel as the couple played by Charlie Hall and Mae Busch are revealed to be the same one Stan & Ollie previously encountered in Them Thar Hills. The boys are opening an electrical shop while Hall and Busch have a grocery store next door. Through a Stan mishap, Ollie winds up having to go through the bedroom of Mae and as they go downstairs, Ollie says to her in front of Charlie, "I've never been in a position like that before!" which arouses suspicion to the point of Hall telling Hardy he'll do something to him of he even looks at his wife. His feelings hurt, Ollie demands an apology which isn't forthcoming so what then happens is what the title implies. And, oh, what retaliation between the boys and Charlie that builds and builds to great hilarity! This is one the funniest of the L & H shorts, that's for sure! So as we leave Stan & Ollie out of one sequel, we''ll next visit Abbott & Costello in their only one as well, Buck Privates Come Home.

Them Thar Hills

Laurel & Hardy, along with Charlie Hall and Mae Busch, encounter each other in Them Thar Hills
One of Ollie's feet is heavily bandaged because of gout so Dr. Billy Gilbert suggests he spend some time in the woods and drink plenty of water. So Stan and Ollie rent a trailer and go to where the doctor suggests. Before their arrival, some bootleggers are arrested after they put some of their alcohol in a well. Those people are gone when our boys settle there and, well, later on as they're having a meal, a couple played by Charlie Hall and Mae Busch come by to get some gas from them. I'll stop there and just say this was another of the very funny L & H shorts I just rewatched just now. I mean, from the boys doing their version of "The Old Spinning Wheel" to their later tiff with Hall, there's hardly any slow spots. And, for once, Mae Busch isn't the antagonist for Stan & Ollie! In fact, her enjoyment with them is infectious here, that's for sure! These four must have really enjoyed themselves here to the point of a sequel made after this called Tit for Tat, which will be my next review.

In the Navy

Abbott & Costello become sailors In the Navy
Having just left Laurel & Hardy attempting to sail a boat in Towed in a Hole, I just now rewatched Abbott & Costello as sailors in In the Navy. Also on board is former Warner Bros. Musical star Dick Powell as a popular radio crooner who's anxious to ditch his female fans and Claire Dodd as a newspaper photographer trying to take his picture. Returning with Bud & Lou in this, their third starring film but their second released after Buck Privates (which is mistakenly IDed in the beginning flag-pulling sequence), are Shemp Howard as their foil and The Andrews Sisters who this time, besides doing their singing numbers, also have dialogue with most of the above cast with lead singer Patty, especially, reciting lines, usually with Costello since he's smitten with her in this one. Plenty of funny routines abound and the songs are pretty entertaining. The climax involving Lou and Patty and her siblings possibly involved in a disastrous ship maneuver is not as hilarious as one wants it to be but it's amusing in its own right. Watching this again after 40 years, I looked for eventual set court jester Bobby Barber after looking at the cast list on this site but I didn't recognize him. Consulting the book "Abbott & Costello in Hollywood", I was pleased to see Lou's then two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Carole in the brief baby carriage scene in which she takes her father's message as well as Bud's stunt double Joe LaCava in the "Lemon Bit" routine. I've been highly enjoying revisiting these A & C flicks for review on this site especially in comparison to many Laurel & Hardy films with similar subjects or routines I comment on. So that's a recommendation of In the Navy. Next, I'll review L & H's Them Thar Hills.

Towed in a Hole

Laurel & Hardy try to fix a boat in Towed in a Hole
While Stan & Ollie are successful fish salesmen, Stan suggests they can be even more profitable if they catch their own fish instead of buying them. So they buy a boat named Ruth (after Stan's about-to-be-second-wife) and work on it, with disastrous results, of course! Great slapstick sequences abound with Hardy, of course, getting the brunt of it. This was the last of their three films directed by George Marshall who left Hal Roach Studios after general manager Henry Ginsberg fired him over production delays. He later helmed classic films starring W. C. Fields, Bob Hope, and Martin & Lewis with a couple of solo Jerry Lewis pictures after that team split up. So as we leave Stan & Ollie attempting to go to sea, we'll next see Bud Abbott & Lou Costello at sea in In the Navy.

Hit the Ice

Abbott & Costello Hit the Ice in a fun way!
Having just watched Laurel & Hardy in the Swiss Alps in Swiss Miss, I decided to then rewatch Abbott & Costello in Sun Valley in Hit the Ice. They play photographers who unwittingly get involved in taking pics of villain Sheldon Leonard and his henchmen after they rob a bank. I'll stop there and just say Bud & Lou once again are funny with their routines, like "Pack/Unpack" and "All Right!", and especially Lou's reactions and pratfalls. This was one of their early ones in which there are several musical interludes of which many are performed by Ginny Simms. I didn't mind them the first time I watched this 40 years ago and I still don't mind now. While looking at the cast list on this site, I noticed a couple of them-Edward Gargan and Mantan Moreland-had the year before appeared in Laural & Hardy's A-Haunting We Will Go. While regular A & C court jester Bobby Barber was also listed as being in this movie, I didn't recognize him anywhere here. Oh, and since I always like to cite when a player from my favorite movie It's a Wonderful Life is in another film, here it's Mr. Leonard who was, of course, Nick the Bartender in IAWL. So on that note, I truly re-enjoyed Hit the Ice. My next review will be Laurel & Hardy's short Towed in a Hole.

Swiss Miss

Swiss Miss was one of the most uneven of Laurel & Hardy features
Like Laurel & Hardy's previous feature, Bonnie Scotland, this movie of theirs has two storylines that hardly seem to go together. It begins with a composer wanting to be alone to write his music. Later scenes has his singer wife basically not letting him write in peace. That plot is mostly for the birds though the songs are tolerable enough. Stan & Ollie are trying to sell mousetraps at the Swiss Alps with initially no success. They eventually meet this female singer thinking she's a chambermaid with Ollie instantly smitten. I'll just now say that the boys have a funny sequence when they think they're successful in selling their wares after drilling holes in the floor of a cheese factory followed by another funny sequence of Stan trying to get a drink from the barrel of a St. Bernard. The getting-a-piano-through-a-loosely-swinging-bridge-with-a-gorilla-also-waiting-on-it wasn't as funny but still amusing enough. Also pretty funny was the return of Anita Garvin, after several years off of L & H films, as the wife of a man she argues with about whether or not to look at the boys' mousetrap. After all that, Stan & Ollie just bring mere chuckles or just smiles though they're never less than entertaining which can't be said for the other plot I mentioned. Still, Swiss Miss is worth a look for any L & H fan. P. S. Reportedly, both Hal Roach's wife Margaret and Stan's daughter Lois appear as extras but I haven't been able to locate them. Oh, and the ending of this film is very similar to the last movie I watched and reviewed: In Society starring that other comedy team I've been commenting on. So as we leave Stan & Ollie at the Swiss mountains, I'll next review Abbott & Costello at snow-capped ones in Hit the Ice.

In Society

Look out when Abbott & Costello go In Society!
After previously reviewing Laurel & Hardy crashing High Society in From Soup to Nuts and Another Fine Mess, we're now seeing Bud Abbott & Lou Costello In Society. They're plumbers called to fix a sink leak in a mansion. With Abbott ordering Costello around, there's no way that will go well! Despite that, they accidentally get invited to a society party along with their cab driver friend Elsie (Marion Hutton, Betty's sister). Also coming, a loan shark (Thomas Gomez) and his chauffeur (Murray Leonard) are following along to steal a valuable painting. I'll stop there and just say some of the scenes are uneven due to obvious rear projection footage involving some chase scenes and at least one song-among many being performed usually by Marion-sung by Kirby Grant is one too many. Still, there's still some infectious fun especially when the "Bagel Street" routine is being performed. Some of the players above had or will team with Bud & Lou in other films which would also include Anne Gillis playing a rival for Grant here. Also, a couple of players associated with Laurel & Hardy also appear here-Dorothy Granger and Charlie Hall, though I admit I didn't recognize the latter anywhere in the picture. In summary, In Society is still worth a look for any A & C fan. With that, my next review will be Laurel & Hardy's Swiss Miss.

Another Fine Mess

Laurel & Hardy return to the high life in Another Fine Mess
Having just watched Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy work in a mansion in the silent short From Soup to Nuts, here they are again at another such place in the talkie short Another Fine Mess. This time, they're on the run from the police for sleeping on park benches and they end up in the cellar of the residence of one Colonel Buckshot (James Finlayson) who's leaving on vacation. When they find out that the butler and maid are also taking time off, and with a cop still on the lookout for them, Stan poses as both butler and maid and Ollie poses as the Colonel as a young society couple arrives to rent the place. The lady of that couple is played by Thelma Todd who'd appear in quite a few of the L & H shorts and eventually star in her own Hal Roach series with first Zasu Pitts and then Patsy Kelly. She's quite charming when she converses with Stan's portrayal of maid "Agnes"! Hardy as Buckshot also gets his charms when playing him when conversing with the man of the renting couple who has quite a funny laugh which gets quite a workout here, that's for sure! As for Finlayson, well, he only has the beginning and near the end scenes to appear but he does what he can in those scenes and make them count! All in all, Another Fine Mess was quite a funny L & H short. P. S. The twin ladies who recite the credits at the beginning are Beverly and Betty Mae Crane who served the same function during this period on all Hal Roach shorts like the Our Gang entries Teacher's Pet, School's Out, and Love Business which I've also reviewed on this site. So as we leave Stan & Ollie behind, we next will visit Bud Abbott & Lou Costello when they also come In Society.

From Soup to Nuts

From Soup to Nuts marks Laurel & Hardy's first encounter with High Society
This seems to be the earliest time that Stan Laurel & Ollver Hardy have had to encounter High Society as they are employed as waiters in a mansion in From Soup to Nuts. Because they hadn't been in this particular environment before, it's expected they wouldn't know how to behave in front of certain people. So, of course, disaster happens! There's also a young society lady played by Anita Garvin who keeps having trouble with a grape and her tiara, sometimes at the same time! Besides some of the food gags (as well as hat and plate ones), there's also Stan's taking some things literally which you'll get when you watch this as I just did on YouTube. So on that note, From Soup to Nuts is a fine L & H short directed by Edgar Kennedy, who's usually cast as their antagonist though not here. Next, I'll review Stan & Ollie's next encounter with the rich in Another Fine Mess.

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