For the second half of today’s Abbott and Costello double-feature, we have their 1951 movie Comin’ Round The Mountain!
Singer Dorothy McCoy (Dorothy Shay) has proven to be a hit at a New York nightclub, but her agent Al Stewart (Bud Abbott) has decided to bring in another one of his clients, magician Wilbert Smith (Lou Costello). Wilbert bombs, resulting in both him and Dorothy being fired. However, while he was trying to escape for his trick, he gave off a very distinctive yell, which Dorothy recognized as being from her own hillbilly family, the McCoys. She said that Wilbert’s grandfather had left a treasure that would only be revealed when one of his kin arrives, so she takes him and Al back to the hills. Once there, she tells them about the feud between the McCoys and the Winfield family (yep, they made use of that old hillbilly cliche). When they meet the McCoys, Granny (Ida Moore) takes a liking to Wilbert, but cousin Calem (Joe Sawyer) isn’t so sure about him, and decides to have Wilbert prove himself in the turkey shoot against the Winfield family. Wilbert gets through with the help of his cousin Matt McCoy (Shaye Cogan), while Dorothy meets and takes a liking to Clark Winfield (Kirby Grant). (uh-oh! We have a Romeo-and-Juliet-type romance here!) Wilbert’s current marital status leaves Calem and the rest of the family playing matchmaker. Wilbert likes Dorothy, but, since she is more interested in Clark, Calem decides to use the opportunity to marry off his 14-year-old “old maid” sister, Matt (who is happy with the arrangement). Wilbert doesn’t like the idea, and neither does Granny (since she is in favor of the feud with the Winfields), so she advises Wilbert to go to the witch Aunt Huddy (Margaret Hamilton) for a love potion. They get the potion alright, but more people drink it than they were supposed to, resulting in a lot of confusion!
For me, Comin’ Round The Mountain has some of my favorite scenes from the entire Abbott and Costello filmography. One of them is the scene with Margaret Hamilton, who is best known for her role as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard Of Oz, who once again plays a witch here. Bud and Lou’s characters come to her, seeking a love potion. When she demands payment beforehand, Lou is willing to pay, but Bud is skeptical, so she makes a model of Lou out of clay. Using voodoo, she sticks a pin into the model, giving Lou a pain. (Considering he was willing to pay, you can’t help but wonder, why him and not Bud?) While she’s not looking, Lou makes a model of her, and does the same thing! And then, after all the pin-sticking is over, Bud and Lou come across a “modernized” witch’s broom. And by “modernized,” I mean it has a windshield (with a working windshield wiper!) as well as a starter switch! For me, one of the most memorable moments from some of the Abbott and Costello films!
And while not quite as good, the following scene, which deals with the love potion, is still quite fun! The potion itself, according to the movie, is supposed to be drunk, and then the drinker falls in love with the first person they see (although it eventually wears off). So, of course, Lou gets Dorothy’s character to drink it, with her seeing Lou first, but then Lou’s character accidentally drinks it, sees Shaye Cogan’s Matt and falls for her. Of course, she also ends up drinking it, sees Bud’s character and falls for him. With all the arguing (and the subsequent wedding), it’s a lot of fun! Of course, they also have the leader of the Winfield family, Devil Dan (portrayed by Glenn Strange), drink it too, and he see’s Lou’s Wilbert (although he just becomes an affectionate friend instead of a lover). Still, it’s a fun moment!
As to the rest of the movie, I would for the most part say it’s a lot of fun. With the presence of Dorothy Shay as the “Manhattan Hillbilly,” the movie once again goes into musical territory, which gives me mixed feelings. On the one hand, the music itself is less than memorable, but, on the other hand, the songs seem to work well enough for the movie (and by that, I mean their style works, as the songs don’t advance the plot), which is a plus. And as far as Bud and Lou are concerned, they do make use of their “You’re 40, She’s 10” routine, which, considering the hillbilly atmosphere, seems appropriate (and, of course, it’s still funny). This movie may not be one of the absolute best Abbott and Costello films, but I enjoy watching it every now and then, as it is worth a few good laughs! So, as you can guess, I still rank it high enough to warrant a recommendation! If you get the chance, try to see it!
This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the 28 film The Complete Abbott And Costello Universal Pictures Collection from Shout Factory, and is one hour, seventeen minutes in length.
My Rating: 8/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Coming Up Shorts! with… Lonesome Lenny (1946)
(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: 7 minutes, 46 seconds)
A big, lonely dog (who is too strong for his own good) chases his new little friend, Screwy. More fun here with Screwy Squirrel, in what was his last cartoon from Tex Avery. Many fun gags, including the old “hallway with many doors being used in a chase sequence” bit, that is one of the funniest and most ridiculous uses of it! Many laughs to be found here, even with it’s slightly sad (and appropriate for being the last Screwy Squirrel cartoon by Tex Avery) ending.
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!