And to provide the second half of today’s Abbott and Costello double-feature, we have their 1948 comedy Mexican Hayride.
During “Amigo Americano Week,” Joe Bascom (Lou Costello) makes his way to Mexico City. He’s on the run from the police, since he was accidentally involved in an oil stock scam because of his “buddy” Harry Lambert (Bud Abbott). In Mexico City, Joe finds Harry, who, as an agent, has helped Joe’s ex-girlfriend, Mary (Virginia Grey) pass herself off as a great toreador now called “Montana”. Harry has helped fix it so that Mary, who is supposed to pick the “Amigo Americano” (a goodwill ambassador), will pick another con man, who would help Harry sell fake silver mine stock. However, Joe recognizes Mary and calls out to her, which angers her and, in the process, she accidentally picks him to be “Amigo Americano.” Since the police catch up to him, Joe claims to be “Humphrey Fish,” and Harry has to go along with it or Joe will turn him in to the police. Joe tours the country as the “Amigo Americano,” and ends up reading speeches prepared by Harry and his friend, Dagmar (Luba Malina), which help sell people on the fake mines. However, Joe doesn’t trust Harry about the money, which he wants to give back to his swindled friends back in Iowa, so he hides the money from Harry. Harry tries sending in Dagmar to find it, but after a “shocking” kiss from Joe (since his spur was caught in an electrical socket at the time), she takes the money but decides to keep it from Harry. Unfortunately, that’s also the time the authorities find proof that Humphrey is Joe, and try to arrest him and Harry. However, Joe escapes and helps Harry to do so as well, but they both are competing to get to Dagmar to find the money first.
Mexican Hayride was based on a musical play of the same name with music by Cole Porter. However, film audiences had complained about the musical numbers in a lot of the Abbott and Costello films (hmm, seems like I’m not the only one), so none of the music from the show was used in the movie (although the song “Is It Yes, Or Is It No,” written by Walter Scharf and Jack Brooks, was added to the movie). However, actress Luba Malina had been in the Broadway show, and made her film debut here in the movie. Supposedly, neither Bud nor Lou wanted to do the movie, as Bud hated the script and Lou wanted a different cast (apparently including Carmen Miranda and Lucille Ball, which sounds like it could have been an interesting alternate version had he gotten his way). As a result, both Bud and Lou were suspended for a week, but the movie was only two days behind schedule when they started.
Personally, this has been one of the Abbott and Costello films I have really enjoyed for quite a while. Out of all the characters that Lou Costello played, Joe Bascom is probably my favorite if only because I get a laugh out of seeing a character who is a little “daffy” as a result of dancing in a 68-hour dance marathon, with the resulting side effect of him unconsciously starting to do the samba whenever he hears samba music! This continues throughout the movie, with the payoff being him doing the samba during the bullfight. Even the bull joins in!! (Okay, I know it’s easy for us to tell that they manipulated the footage to make the bull “dance,” but it’s still fun!!) And this movie contains the boys doing one of my favorite comedy routines, “Silver Ore,” with a great punchline that is always guaranteed to have me laughing! Throw in Sydney Fields as a fast-talking reporter interviewing Lou (but not letting him get a word in edgewise) and Fritz Feld as an elocution teacher to help Lou with his speeches, and this movie is easily worth a few good laughs! So go on! Give it a try!
This movie is available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory as part of the 28 film The Complete Abbott And Costello Universal Pictures Collection, and is one hour, seventeen minutes in length.
My Rating: 10/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Coming Up Shorts! with… The Peachy Cobbler (1950)
(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, 43 seconds)
After an old cobbler gives some bread to some hungry birds, a group of elves help him catch up on work while he sleeps. Fun little cartoon, with mostly an emphasis on gags revolving around the elves working on the shoes. Of course, they do have a few dances and such with the shoes, too. While I’ve certainly seen better, there’s certainly enough fun to be found with this cartoon!
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!