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Six of a Kind

USA 1934
produced by
Emanuel Cohen for Paramount
directed by Leo McCarey
starring Charles Ruggles, Mary Boland, George Burns, Gracie Allen, W.C. Fields, Alison Skipworth, Bradley Page, Grace Bradley, William J.Kelly, Phil Tead
story by Keene Thompson, Douglas MacLean, screenplay by Walter DeLeon, Harry Ruskin, music for John Leipold, Ralph Rainger

Burns & Allen

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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J.P. Whinney (Charles Ruggles) and his wife Flora (Mary Boland) go on a cross-country trip to California, but have the bad idea to advertise for some travelling companions in a newspaper to save expenses - and end up with George (Burns), Gracie (Allen) and their dog, and it's not entirely clear to Gracie whose expenses are to be saved. But as if that wasn't bad enough, there is also Ferguson (Bradley Page), Whinney's co-worker at the bank, who smuggles $ 50,000.- of the bank's money into Whinney's luggage to have it smuggled out of the bank, and he's hell-bent on getting his hands on the money at the first possible opportunity - but loses track of Whinney and company when George and Gracie take over planning the route and lead the whole party from one detour to the next. Back home, Whinney is soon suspected of having stolen the money of course, because in a way it all fits ...

After much to and fro that almost lands both Whinney and his wife on the bottom of Grand Canyon, after Gracie driving everyone to despair, and after all of them being robbed of their money, they end up in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and board in Mrs Rumford's hotel - and since they don't have any money, Mrs Rumford accepts the travellers' luggage as pawn ... and soon enough finds the money inside and takes off.

When Whinney cables his bank for some money, he has no idea yet that he is suspected of having stolen the $ 50,000.-, but now the bank sends two detectives to arrest him, and at the same time Ferguson finally learns where to retrieve his money from. Ferguson is at the hotel hours before the detectives, and uses this advantage to team up with the rather incompetent local sheriff (W.C. Fields) to try and get his hands on the money - which is pretty much impossible though because the money's no longer there to begin with. the sheriff makes an additional mess of the situation though when he accidently locks up Ferguson ...

Eventually, Mrs Rumford returns with the detectives, and they arrest Ferguson. Turns out Mrs Rumford has not taken off with the money after all but just brought it to the police station in the next town (because she didn't trust the local sheriff), along with evidence proving Ferguson's guilt.

And when George and Gracie hitch a ride to California with someone else, Whinney and Flora can finally start to enjoy their vacation ...

 

I'm of two minds about this movie:

On one hand, there are really funny performances by all of the involved, especially Burns & Allen are at their hilarious best, and W.C. Fields delivers a couple of top-notch routines (especially his extended pool sequence is nothing short of great).

On the other hand though, the film is really badly written, narratively speaking: The basic plot is rather far-fetched as it is, but on top of that, all the situations that provide the basis for the gags are badly set up, in a sense that they are not really developed out of the plot but just thrown into the film out of nowhere (again, I'd like to mention W.C. Fields' pool sequence here that has no relation at all to the rest of the plot).

In all though, the film is good for quite a few laughs at least. It's no masterpiece, as much is for sure, but amusing nevertheless.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD