Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Another film from the nearly forgotten comedy team of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey—for background, see my review of HIPS HIPS HOORAY. This title conjures up the Marx Brothers THE COCOANUTS, which came out the year before; though I am fond of Wheeler & Woolsey, they’re not Groucho and Chico, and the Marx Brothers will win hands-down in any direct comparison. This film is set along the Mexican border. Bespectacled Woolsey (the Professor), and romantic lead Wheeler (his sidekick Sparrow) are driven out of town for posing as fortune tellers and they get involved with a band of gypsies camped out near a casino resort. American June Clyde has been brought down to the resort by her aunt to keep her away from dashing pilot Hugh Trevor; a rich baron falls for her but when Trevor flies down, there's no contest. Wheeler is in love with Dorothy Lee, an American who has grown up with the gypsies, but so is tough-guy gypsy Mitchell Lewis. There’s a kidnapping, some fisticuffs, and several musical numbers before the happy ending. The songs, while not classics, aren’t bad: "I'll Find You Wherever You Are" begins as a romantic duo and ends up as a big production number; there's also the catchy "I Love You So Much, It's a Wonder You Don’t Feel It" (is that supposed to be a bawdy suggestion?), and the finale, in faded Technicolor, "Dancing the Devil Away." As in Marx Brothers movies, plot bits keep getting set up but left behind for chunks of stand-alone comedy routines. A couple of funny lines: "You kill me"/"Not a bad idea"; "Will you love me until I die?"/"That depends on how long you live." The funniest scene involves Wheeler & Woolsey in a hotel room bed with lots of people running into the room, spouting non-sequiturs. [TCM]

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