Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Little Giant (1946)

AKA On The Carpet.

The door to door salesman has long been a staple of comedy so it's no surprise to see Abbott & Costello weave a movie around such a character. Having said that, it IS a surprise actually because this was the first A & C film based around situation and characters as opposed to just numerous gags. It has plenty of flaws but it's also got some good laughs here and there (one connected to a mind reading prank and another being a repeat of the superb "13 x 7 = 28" routine).

Lou is the young man who heads off to the big city to try and make his name and fortune in the world of sales. He manages to secure himself a position selling the Hercules vacuum cleaner, upsetting Bud Abbott (Mr. Morrison). Thankfully, he moves to a different location and manages to impress . . . . . . Bud Abbott (Mr. Chandler). But even as things start to go right, it becomes clear that this country boy isn't suited to city life.

William A. Seiter directs with no real flair or energy - the movie is passable entertainment but some extra work and care could have resulted in something much better. The writers involved seem to have been so preoccupied with keeping the story moving and things building to a farcical climax that they forgot to sprinkle more laughs throughout.

Lou Costello is a bit more annoying than usual this time around, somehow, and I say that as someone who always preferred his childish and goofy persona to the uptight and stern Abbott (who does very well here with his portrayal of two different characters). Elena Verdugo is very good as Martha, Brenda Joyce is great as Ruby and Jacqueline deWit has a lot of fun as Hazel. In fact, it's definitely a movie in which the women stand out and fans of the actresses involved may find more to enjoy in this film than A & C fans.

But I had fun nonetheless.



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