Bad Movie of the Week

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You don’t get past the title to know this is not Oscar material. From MGM in 1945 it’s Abbott and Costello in Hollywood. But first let me tell you about the plot. There is no plot. OK, if you insist on a plot, there is a story line, but it’s just a device to hang the zany antics of Abbott and Costello on. It goes like this. They’re in Hollywood. And Abercrombie (Costello) has again fallen for one of Buzz Curtis’ (Abbott) schemes.

Buzz is running a phony barber school, and he’s soaking Abercrombie for as much as he can for tuition while pretending to teach Abercrombie how to be a professional barber. The opening gag involves the time-honored barber training method of shaving a balloon. If you can shave the lather off a balloon without popping it you can shave the whiskers off a real face without drawing blood.

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Come on. You knew how this was going to turn out.

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Barbering does not seem to be all that profitable. The two learn that talent agents make thousands at a whack (10%) for landing contracts for their clients. They decide to break into the talent agent racket by representing a smooth crooner from the Midlands. As things begin to go haywire their scheme turns to crashing the studio that’s about to start production. It gets to the point that Buzz gives Abercrombie a boost over a brick wall.

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The gag is that it’s a phony wall, and as soon as Abercrombie gets across some studio hands haul it away.

Next the pair land on a set where a period piece is being filmed. And there, for all to see, is Lucille Ball, one of the best looking women in the business, playing herself as an actress in the movie. This is about the high point of this flick.

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Still trying to elude the studio cops, Abercrombie plays dead and gets mistaken for a prop dummy and carried onto the set of a barroom fight scene, where he gets thrown off a balcony a couple of times before making his getaway.

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Things get desperate. Buzz and Abercrombie need to get their client a part in the upcoming movie. To do so they need to eliminate the snidely actor who’s weaseled his way into the part. A staged fight with the weasel actor leads to false accusations of Abercrombie’s murder. Now the weasel needs to hide out from the police, and the movie role goes to Buzz and Abercrombie’s client. But only if they can keep the weasel on the run until after a critical scene in the movie is shot.

The critical scene involves blowing up a carnival, which scene cannot be re-shot. While the director is preparing to shoot the scene, the weasel uncovers the hoax and starts chasing Abercrombie on a roller coaster on the set. A fight on the roller coaster leaves Abercrombie hanging from a broken flagpole.

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Next he’s on a runaway roller coaster car that begins to disintegrate, leaving Abercrombie riding on nothing but two wheels and an axle. Then one of the wheels comes off. This was the 1940s idea of jumping the shark.

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But everything comes out all right, and Buzz and Abercrombie become rich and successful talent agents. It’s enough to warm your heart.

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2 thoughts on “Bad Movie of the Week

  1. Pingback: Bad Movie of the Week | Skeptical Analysis

  2. Pingback: Bad Movie of the Week | Skeptical Analysis

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