For the first part of today’s Abbott and Costello double-feature, we are starting off with a sequel, their 1947 film Buck Privates Come Home. But before we get into that, we still have my poll to choose the “Star Of The Month” for March 2021:
And now, back to our regular review…
After the second World War has ended, the troops are coming home! However, Slicker Smith (Bud Abbott) and Herbie Brown (Lou Costello) are caught trying to bring home little French orphan girl Yvonne “Evey” LeBrec (Beverly Simmons), so she is turned over to nurse Lieutenant Sylvia Hunter (Joan Fulton) until they dock, where she is to be turned over to immigration services. Due to a mistake, Evey is able to escape. Meanwhile, Slicker and Herbie have been discharged from the Army, and go back to their old con of trying to sell ties on the street. Much to their dismay, their army sergeant Collins (Nat Pendleton) has also been discharged and returned to his pre-war job as a cop. Evey comes upon Slicker and Herbie as they are about to be arrested by Collins, and they are able to escape together. The three of them go to the French consul (with Evey disguised), where they learn that, in order for Herbie to adopt Evey, he must be married and have a job. Evey suggests Sylvia as a possible romance for Herbie, but when they go visit her, they find her with her boyfriend Bill Gregory (Tom Brown). Bill suggests they go in as partners with him on his new midget racing car, which at least allows for income. They try to get a GI loan to help finance it, but the bank turns them down. However, some of their army buddies are willing to help them finance the deal. Of course, sergeant Collins keeps making trouble for them, since Evey should have been deported.
After two films where they didn’t really work as a team (mostly the result of an offscreen feud), Abbott and Costello came back together again for their one and only true sequel, Buck Privates Come Home. Along with Buck Privates co-star Nat Pendleton returning as Sergeant Collins, Bud and Lou reprise their roles from the earlier film (although Bud’s character is now being referred to as Slicker, instead of Smitty like in the first film). As far as the location shooting for this one, they filmed the race at Gilmore Stadium in L.A., and Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, California was used for the scene at Fort Dix. The movie had a pretty good response from audiences, and Bud and Lou would be joined a year later by the writers, producer and director for what would become one of their biggest and best-known films, Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein.
My own opinion here is that, while it’s nice to see the boys back together again after their feud, it’s still not one of their better films. On the one hand, the movie really isn’t a musical, but, at the same time, it gives indications of wanting to be, since it has one song that is sung a little here and there. Honestly, it lacks the Andrews Sisters from the original film to bring in some of the fun. And I’m not sure how to feel about the returning Nat Pendleton. Considering his character was pretty sure of himself and not really prone to getting into trouble in the first film, his overall klutziness just seems out of place here. To be fair, the first film took place before the U.S. entered World War II, and now it’s the war’s end (not to mention being stuck with Bud and Lou all that time might be enough to cause issues). Now, I don’t completely dislike this movie, as it does have its points. Bud and Lou’s comedy still seems to come from the situations that they get into, and that still works most of the time (although re-using footage of the “drill bit” from Buck Privates at the start of the movie, followed up with Lou tripping up again in a similar manner multiple times in the movie does get a little old). In some respects, it is a nice movie to show us what things are like for their characters several years later, and should be seen at least once to follow up Buck Privates. It may not be its equal by a long shot, but it’s still fun enough for me to recommend it.
This movie is available on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory as part of the 28-film The Complete Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection, and is one hour, seventeen minutes in length.
My Rating: 7/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
The Time Of Their Lives (1946) – Bud Abbott/ Lou Costello – The Wistful Widow Of Wagon Gap (1947)
The Time Of Their Lives (1946) – The Complete Abbott And Costello Universal Pictures Collection – The Wistful Widow Of Wagon Gap (1947)
Coming Up Shorts! with… Batty Baseball (1944)
(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1 from Warner Archive Collection)
Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.
Welcome to my new feature on various theatrical shorts! Sometimes my comments will be on shorts included as extras on a disc set I am reviewing, and other times, they will be completely unrelated to the movie being reviewed (and I will try to indicate which). Hope you enjoy!
(Length: 6 minutes, 27 seconds)
For this short, we have a very screwy baseball game. A lot of very fun gags here, including playing with the opening credits, and how they show up. Of course, a lot of the focus is on the pitcher, and his various pitches (plus the various objects he actually pitches besides the baseball itself). Plus, we have one angry fan who comments on the umpire (with hilarious results)! A lot of fun here, whether or not you actually care for baseball, so it’s worth it for quite a few good laughs!
And stay tuned for more of Coming Up Shorts! featuring cartoons by Tex Avery (and the eventual post on the entire Volume 1 set), along with other shorts!