Now that we’re back again for another Abbott and Costello double-feature, we’ll start things off with their 1952 comedy Lost In Alaska.
In San Francisco, volunteer firefighters Tom Watson (Bud Abbott) and his buddy George Bell (Lou Costello) come across a man trying to drown himself, and rescue him. They learn he is “Nugget Joe” McDermott (Tom Ewell), and they do what they can to keep him from killing himself, as he is depressed at the idea that his girlfriend doesn’t love him. Then, he receives a message from her, asking him to come back to her in Skagway, Alaska, so, of course, he decides to get on the next ship back. Tom and George soon learn that they are accused of killing him, and get on the boat to ask him to return and clear their names, but while he refuses and they argue, the boat takes off. Once in Skagway, they learn that Joe’s girlfriend, Rosette (Mitzi Green), didn’t want him back, but instead her boss, Jake Stillman (Bruce Cabot), sent the message. Since Joe has found a lot of gold, Jake wants Rosette to marry him. His plan is to kill Joe after the wedding, so that Rosette would be his heir and split the gold with him, but Rosette warns Joe. Joe decides to hide his gold, with Rosette’s help, and promises to meet Tom and George at the Eskimo village of Muckaluck. However, Jake follows, and catches up to everyone at Muckaluck, which results in a standoff.
For me, this is when the Universal Abbott and Costello films really start to go down the drain. The first time I saw this movie, I wound up comparing it to the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope film Road To Utopia, as the movies are quite similar. The problem is, that film was made when Bing and Bob were still in their prime and being given good scripts, whereas Lost In Alaska really doesn’t have a good script, and Bud and Lou have seen better days as a team. It’s a musical again, but the music is quite forgettable. To me, the music seems more like it’s there because maybe actress Mitzi Green was required to sing some songs or something, instead of helping move the story along. And the ending, I just don’t like (spoiler warning for those who don’t want to hear it). When Bud and Lou are trying to fight off the villains at the end, it really just seems like they were just going through the motions and so the fight wasn’t as fun as previous films. Add to that the fact that, when the gold sinks into the water, Bruce Cabot’s Jake Stillman and all the other people trying to kill Tom Ewell’s Nugget Joe just decide to be all pals to Nugget Joe, as if the gold fever just disappeared, just doesn’t work for me.
Now, don’t get me wrong this movie does have its moments. I do get a chuckle out of watching Bud and Lou’s characters taking two hour shifts to keep Nugget Joe from committing suicide, since the “shifts” mainly consist of Lou watching for two hours, and Bud changing the time on the clock so that he gets more sleep and Lou gets almost none. Then there is the scene where Lou is trying to talk to a lawyer at a roulette table, where he is accidentally winning a whole lot of money without knowing it since he is mostly talking to the guy, only to lose it all as the conversation ended, and he still didn’t know how much he had won! But, fun though those moments may be, I would not say that they are worth seeing this movie for. So, unless it still sounds good to you, I would suggest avoiding this one.
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, sixteen minutes in length.
My Rating: 5/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Coming Up Shorts! with… Red Hot Rangers (1947)
(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, 59 seconds)
Forest rangers George and Junior try to put out a fire started by a lit cigarette. This one is slightly repetitious again, as the fire keeps getting the better of George and Junior. I had more fun with this one, though. Still not as good as other cartoons in the set, but it was more fun than Hound Hunters (and it certainly possesses a good message that always stays relevant)!
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!