Tuesday 22 May 2012

Abbott & Costello In The Foreign Legion (1950)

The movie starts with Bud and Lou playing a couple of guys choreographing some wrestling practice. It's going to be a great moneyspinner and they want everything to go smoothly. Mere moments later, the whole plan is in disarray when their main draw (Abdullah, played by William 'Wee Willie' Davis) decides that he's had enough and heads back home to Algeria. The guys, out of a sense of self-preservation, go after Abdullah, determined to get him back to America and wrestling for them but once in Algeria they find themselves, as usual, in the wrong place at the wrong time and circumstances lead to them taking shelter with, as you may have guessed, the Foreign Legion.

There's nothing here to get excited about even if the movie isn't a complete bore. The direction by Charles Barton is competent but the script by John Grant, Martin Ragaway and Leonard Stern is far from the best that the two leads have ever worked with. They do okay with the material, and one or two moments are very enjoyable (especially a scene involving various mirages), but this is undeniably lesser fare.

Sadly, the cast also feels like "lesser fare" to those who have enjoyed many other A & C adventures. The leads do their usual stuff, though Bud is a bit less harsh to Lou in this outing (which may make this one more enjoyable for some viewers), and William Davis does fine with his limited screentime but Patricia Medina isn't all that captivating in the one leading female role while Walter Slezak, Douglass Dumbrille, Leon Belasco and the others in the cast don't make much of an impression either.

One interesting aspect of the movie nowadays is seeing Tor Johnson in one of his many small roles he took before becoming best known years later for his work with Ed Wood but it's just a shame that there's nothing else worth singling out for attention in a film that most firmly resides in the arena of the average.



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