Here Comes Trouble, 1948, b&w. Fred Guiol (dir.), William Tracy, Joe Sawyer, Emory Parnell, Betty Compson, Joan Woodbury, Beverly Lloyd. 0:55 [0:50]
“Filmed in Cinecolor”—but this print’s in black and white, unfortunately. It’s pretty good slapstick in the service of a reasonable plot. We have a crusading newspaper publisher/editor whose police reporters keep getting beaten up and quitting and whose daughter’s in love with a returning serviceman who was a copyboy at the paper. The father isn’t wild about the copyboy marrying his daughter…and figures that promoting him to police reporter might kill two birds with one stone.
That’s the setup. Add a service buddy of the son who’s just joined the police force (and in his case “police farce” might be better), the fact that the criminal mastermind is also the comptroller of the newspaper, a burlesque queen…and you have a very good, almost 20-minute climactic sequence. Color would have been better, and this is a short one, so I’ll say $1.00.
Hollywood and Vine, 1945, b&w. Alexis Thurn-Taxis (dir.), James Ellison, Wanda McKay, June Clyde, Ralph Morgan, Franklin Pangborn, Leon Belasco, Emmett Lynn. 0:58.
A romantic comedy, emphasis on the comedy, with a surround story that makes no sense. It’s told in flashbacks from the office of a tycoon, and is supposed to be the story of how he got started—but there’s not a thing in the picture that suggests the guy (who started as proprietor of Pop’s Burgers) would go anywhere.
The flashback, though, is charming, and that’s 95% of the picture. It’s the old Hollywood story but with several cute twists and relies heavily on a remarkable stunt dog. Cute and well played, albeit short and with an outer plot that doesn’t lead anywhere. All things considered, including its length, I’ll give it $1.00.
Lost Honeymoon, 1947, b&w. Leigh Jason (dir.), Franchot Tone, Ann Richards, Tom Conway, Frances Rafferty, Clarence Kolb. 1:11 [1:09]
Somewhere between a B programmer and a feature, this one’s interesting—part romantic comedy, part identity confusion, with just a little slapstick thrown in. The gist: A young woman returns to the British boarding house she’d formerly stayed in, knowing that a friend of hers died, leaving two very young (twin) children, who the landlady’s taking care of. The woman also knows the friend was a GI bride in WWII—and apparently the husband’s disappeared to America, with known city but not address. She decides to assume the dead mother’s identity (modifying her passport) and take the children to America to confront the husband.
That’s the setup. Now there’s the apparent husband—a young architect, engaged to the somewhat-shrewish social-climbing boss’s daughter. He’s astonished when he gets a cable from the Red Cross informing him that his wife and children are on their way, because he’s not aware that he had a wife and children. But he did have a six-week amnesia episode during the war, a period of which he remembers nothing, so maybe…
Everything follows from that, and it’s actually pretty well done. The ending’s silly, and maybe it had to be. Not great, not bad. Some missing frames and a problematic picture at first, so I won’t give it more than $1.25.
The Animal Kingdom, 1932, b&w. Edward H. Griffith (dir.), Ann Harding, Leslie Howard, Myrna Loy, William Gargan, Ilka Chase. 1:25.
I guess this is a comedy of manners, and that’s the only basis on which I can call it a comedy at all. The primary character is a small-press publisher, a terrible disappointment to his wealthy father who wants him to be a Proper Person. The publisher’s about to marry a socialite who his father much admires—after having spent a couple of years with an artistic woman who left (but is now returning).
I’m not sure what to say about the rest of the plot, such as it is. I found it dreary, and in fact found the movie tiresome. Myrna Loy as the socialite with a heart of dollar signs certainly makes the most of backless gowns, but I didn’t find any of the acting worth more than a yawn. I’m being very generous in giving this one $1.00.
Behave Yourself, 1951, b&w. George Beck (dir.), Farley Granger, Shelley Winters, William Demarest, Francis L. Sullivan, Margalo Gillmore, Lon Chaney Jr., Hans Conried, Elisha Cook Jr., Glenn Anders, Allen Jenkins, Sheldon Leonard, Marvin Kaplan. 1:21.
Reviewed previously: The plot: A CPA (Granger), somewhat browbeaten by his mother-in-law, realizes almost too late that it’s his 2nd Anniversary. He goes to a store to buy his wife (a svelte and wonderfully funny Shelley Winters) a nightgown. Meanwhile, a dog (trained to go to a certain spot) has come into town as part of some odd scheme—and, somehow, breaks free and starts following the CPA, in the process demolishing enough of the store so that the CPA flees. And, when the dog keeps following him, pretends that the dog is his present for his wife.
Then an ad shows up about the lost dog, with precise physical description. The CPA wants to do the right thing…and that’s just the beginning of a wonderfully funny, fast-moving blend of caper and farce, with lots of mistaken identities, bad guys getting shot (sometimes with the CPA’s business card in hand), mother-in-law stuff, counterfeit money (that wasn’t supposed to be counterfeit), overeager cops…and one charming dog. It’s a 50’s movie: The married couple have twin beds. But never mind…
The cast is remarkable—William Demarest as a cop, Lon Chaney, Hans Conried, Elisha Cook Jr., Glenn Anders, Sheldon Leonard and Marvin Kaplan as gangsters and other criminals, Margalo Gillmore as the mother-in-law. They all do good jobs (Farley Granger, the CPA, is probably my least favorite character of the lot—he’s OK, but so many others are better). Good print, good sound. Thoroughly enjoyable. $2.00.