Finishing out today’s Abbott and Costello double-feature is their 1944 comedy In Society!
Mr. Van Cleve (Thurston Hall) arrives home to find his wife had thrown a big costume party for her society friends. However, he is very tired but can’t get to sleep because of a leaky faucet, so the plumbers are called. So enter the plumbers, Eddie Harrington (Bud Abbott) and Albert Mansfield (Lou Costello), who come with Albert’s cab driver girlfriend, Elsie Hammerdingle (Marion Hutton). The boys end up causing even more trouble, with the water gushing out of the walls! Meanwhile, Elsie meets playboy Peter Evans (Kirby Grant), who is dressed like a cab driver for his costume, and he takes an immediate liking to her. Afterwards, Mrs. Van Cleve accidentally mails an invitation to another society party being given by Mrs. Roger Winthrop (Margaret Irving) and her daughter, Gloria Winthrop (Ann Gillis), who is interested in Peter. Loan shark Drexel (Thomas Gomez) decides to call in his loan from Eddie and Harrington, or have them steal from their hostess. They refuse, but make their way to the party, hoping to gain new clients. At Peter’s invite, Elsie also comes along. At the party, Mrs. Winthrop unveils her valuable painting, “The Plunger,” but it gets stolen by Drexel and chauffeur Marlow (Murray Leonard), leaving Eddie, Albert and Elsie as suspects, since they are otherwise strangers.
After production had ended on Hit The Ice, Lou Costello came down with rheumatic fever. After a long fight with it, Universal Studios were anxious to have a new film with their big stars. Some of the movie was shot at actual estates in Pasadena and Beverly Hills. to help with its authenticity. In the rush to get the movie in theatres, they even ended up utilizing footage for the fire truck chase scene from the earlier W.C. Fields movie Never Give A Sucker An Even Break (or so I’ve heard, as I haven’t actually seen that movie yet, although it’s one I want to). While the boys had actually filmed Lost In A Harem for MGM first, In Society ended up making it to theatres first, where it was well-received.
Personally, I had a lot of fun coming back to this one. I’ll admit, I had forgotten a lot about it, but it was worth seeing again! Whether with the trouble that the boys got into when trying to fix the leak at the beginning of the movie, or doing some of their routines like “Go Ahead And Sing” or “Lifeguards” (which is a variation on “Mustard”), it was a lot of fun! But I still laughed the hardest when they did their “Bagel Street” (AKA “Susquehanna Hat Company”) routine, which is one of my favorite comedy routines to see them do, with all the people that go crazy at the mention of the “Susquehanna Hat Company!” I’m still not fond of the side romances (nor of the music here, for that matter), and sometimes there is too much craziness, but it was fun seeing this one again, and I still think it’s worth recommending!
This movie is available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory as part of the 28-film The Complete Abbott And Costello Universal Picture Collection, and is one hour, fourteen minutes in length.
My Rating: 8/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Hit The Ice (1943) – Bud Abbott/ Lou Costello – Lost In A Harem (1944)
Hit The Ice (1943) – The Complete Abbott And Costello Universal Pictures Collection – Here Come The Co-Eds (1945)