Thursday, 8 March 2012

Abbott And Costello In Hollywood (1945)

AKA Bud Abbott And Lou Costello In Hollywood.

Bud and Lou are a couple of inept barbers in this enjoyable comedy that would be the last the duo would do for MGM. It remains a lesser movie than many of their more memorable Universal movies but it's a lot of fun and shows that more could have been made of their dalliance with another studio (there's extra fun to be had here seeing cameos from people like Rags Ragland, Preston Foster and, best of all, Lucille Ball).

But back to the plot. Our leading men realise how much money can be made by an agent in Hollywood so they decide to act the part, in an attempt to both make extra cash and also help out a young talent by the name of Jeff Parker (Robert Stanton). All doesn't go smoothly, of course, and a number of decent set-pieces pop up onscreen during the bumpy journey towards success or failure.

S. Sylvan Simon directs the boys again and does a decent job. The big surprise here is the writing credit. The movie may be based on a story by Nat Perrin and Martin A. Gosch but Lou Breslow is the only other name listed. No long list of writers here, yet the film feels just as full of gags and smart lines as most of the other A & C flicks from this fruitful period.

The leads do their usual schtick, Robert Stanton is bland and likeable, Frances Rafferty and Jean Porter are the swell gals involved in the ongoing craziness and Carleton G. Young and Donald MacBride do well in their respective roles. Those cameos provide some chuckles and the bigger laughs come from Lou attempting to shave a customer despite his incompetence, Lou trying to beat a bout of insomnia and, yep, Lou tussling with Carleton G. Young during a finale that includes some decent effects work, for the time, that puts the men on a dangerous rollercoaster.

A fun swansong for their MGM filmography.


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