Ma and Pa Slocum sell up their thriving packed-lunch business (based on Ma's home cooking, Pa's packaging design, and pretty daughter Helen's salesmanship), and move 'uptown' to live the ... See full summary »
Ma and Pa Slocum sell up their thriving packed-lunch business (based on Ma's home cooking, Pa's packaging design, and pretty daughter Helen's salesmanship), and move 'uptown' to live the life of the idle rich on the proceeds. But Ma starts worrying about her figure, the neighbour's nephew has his roving eye on Helen, and her construction-worker fiancé feels that the family are getting too 'swell' for his touch; events culminate in a family quarrel that sends the men out to seek solace at a raunchy club, while the women resort to the Turkish Baths. But the night isn't over yet... Written by
You'll scream and screech when these two shy thrill-seekers walk right into the hottest time of their lives! Acrobatic Dorothy and Handsome Jack take you right into a whirlpool of perfectly pulsating love problems that has more laughs than you've had in a month of Saturday nights!
"Ladies' Night in a Turkish Bath" starts off as what is basically a character-driven romantic comedy, and then -- just as you are wondering, about two-thirds of the way through, whether the title is all a tease -- suddenly swings into all-out farce. But it's not really a question of poorly paced setup, or a pay-off too long delayed; it's very much a picture of two parts, each with their own quite individual merits. If anything, the initial section is the most charming and enjoyable.
However, I think the film probably does go on a little too long: a criticism levelled by reviewers of the time. After the family have moved 'uptown' the plot gets a bit bogged-down, and with hindsight, needlessly complex. Helen and 'Speed' are more fun when they are courting than in the throes of various disagreements, and one feels that the whole centre section could probably have been streamlined a bit.
Having finally got its cast into the Turkish bath, the film spends its main action sequence in a prolonged attempt to get them safely out. Helen finds herself alternately dupe and conspirator, her father gets hot under the collar, her mother is all steamed-up, and the preternaturally mobile face of Jack Mulhall as 'Speed' gets a very thorough work-out indeed. It's pretty much pure knockabout comedy with the promised element of titillation, and by and large on those terms funny.
But it was Guinn Williams -- who would later feature as sidekick to Errol Flynn in a string of popular Warner Brothers Westerns -- who really had me howling with delight. Here again he's playing comic relief as the hero's best friend, a cheerful cynic with a penetrating eye for lovers' folly, and he manages it without any of Mulhall's lightning-quick switches into mugging. (In one scene, caught out in apparently bizarre behaviour, he extricates himself via a masterfully camp -- and hilarious -- proposition.) Overall this is a decent little comedy with a slightly incoherent feel; the pacing suffers from trying to pack too much subplot in. There are a few laugh-out-loud sequences and a good many mildly amusing ones. It's not among the greats and never claims to be, but is entertaining enough.
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