|Index||3 reviews in total|
Well, this movie is definitely from the 30's. The old school charm oozes from this movie. A boy King, Mother and Father separated, evil Prime minister spoiling a happy home, and our Hero, Will Rogers to the rescue with Hometown Americana wisdom to set a small country right. NOT great movie making, but charming nonetheless. The Senator who arrives to relive Mr. Rogers when he gets in hot water could have been the mold for the Mayor of "Nightmare before Christmas", :) One funny scene involves Rogers and the Cabinet of the small country who are playing poker, oblivious to the time, and the demands of Traditional royal ceremonies. It is a soft movie, even though a revolution or two get raged during it, and the parade scenes are incongruous for the costumes of the country the actors wear. No big suds, but nothing incredibly bad either. A nice average movie....
Although Ambassador Bill depends a wee bit too much on the folksy charm
of Will Rogers it's still a good introduction to the person who may
well have been America's most beloved entertainer. The film also gets a
few interesting, but dated barbs at a few topics of the time.
Twenty years later Irving Berlin went over some of the same material in Call Me Madam about an Oklahoma heiress who became a European ambassador. Rogers is an Oklahoma cattle baron who's been appointed an ambassador to the mythical Balkan kingdom of Sylvania. It's being ruled by a boy king Tad Alexander with his mother Marguerite Churchill as regent. In charge of the regency is Gustav Von Seyfertiz and he's our Snidely Whiplash villain.
A little bedroom escapade forced the abdication of the former king Ray Milland and he's coming back to reclaim family and kingdom.
While Milland plots counterrevolution, Rogers teaches the young king about such plebeian pursuits as baseball. He also gets him a cowboy suit and teaches him the art of rope tricks. All this is not making Von Seyfertitz happy as he sees his control slipping.
Providing a convenient target for some of Rogers's amusing barbs is Ferdinand Munier playing a flannel-mouth Senator on an inspection tour. He's a wonderful performer essentially being Rogers's straight man.
It's not the best the work of Will Rogers, but it still is amusing providing you have a knowledge of the world it was made in.
Will Rogers plays the ambassador from the US to the tiny nation of
Sylvania. Instead of being another dull bureaucrat, Bill is very
down-to-earth and simple--and approaches the young king and his mother
like they are just normal folks as well. This quickly wins over the
young king, as he's longing to act like other boys his age.
AMBASSADOR BILL is one of the films of the 1930s that probably did quite well at the time but today seems to have aged very poorly. Now I certainly DON'T think that films this old are bad--in fact, I adore Classic Hollywood. However, the folksy style of this film is something that audiences of the day loved but people today will most likely find very hokey. As for me, I was able to stick with the film but my wife loudly complained that the film was "dull and ridiculous" and soon left the room!
While this film is very short on laughs, it is interesting because the effect this film had on future films, such as the Marx Brothers' DUCK SOUP, is immense. DUCK SOUP is sort of like AMBASSADOR BILL on drugs--as well as being very funny. Heck, even the name of the nation of "Sylvania" was used in both films!
Don't give up on Will Rogers films because AMBASSADOR BILL isn't that great. DOCTOR BULL is a wonderful Rogers film. It's not so much a comedy, but it's a heck of a drama. Rogers could definitely act--but obviously some of his films were hits and some were duds. If seen today, AMBASSADOR BILL is a small but watchable dud.
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