I first encountered Burns and Allen through their television series, after they were well past middle age. When I see their early films, I'm astonished at how attractive Gracie Allen was in her younger days. In "100% Service" she wears an elaborate set of gauntlet cuffs that must have been quite stylish in 1931.
"100% Service" gives a story credit to "George N. Burns" (the "N" probably stands for Nathan, George's real name), but there's no real story here ... and we don't need one. This is an hilarious example of vaudeville cross-talk comedy, with George as the befuddled newlywed husband on his honeymoon. His wife is played by some other actress, not Gracie. George stops off at the cigar counter for some stogies, where he meets dim-witted cigar girl Gracie Allen. At first, we suspect that Gracie isn't as dumb as she seems, because she uses her screwball logic to rook a customer out of $4.75 change. But then her same illogical logic impels her to give the change to George, so maybe Gracie is dumb after all.
There are some funny sight gags here, including a Scotsman who tries to check into the hotel with several small children and a midget concealed under his cloak, so that they can all get in for the price of a single-occupancy room.
SPOILER. There's an amazingly "blue" gag at the end of this movie, when George's wife wants him to come up to their room for a game of "honeymoon bridge" ... and then the wife is followed upstairs by TWELVE men, and the last man is leading a live horse! Must be an interesting honeymoon.
Trivia note: in real life, Gracie Allen had one blue eye and one green eye, and she was extremely embarrassed about this. She retired from show business just when Burns & Allen's popular TV show was about to make the transition from black-and-white to colour. Gracie claimed that she was "tired" and didn't want to work any more, but I've always suspected that she didn't want to appear on colour TV for fear of revealing her mismatched eyes.
"100% Service" is a delight from start to finish, marred only by a brief appearance by the annoying character actor Chester Clute, more effeminate than usual. I'll rate this movie 10 out of 10.
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