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The plot is thin but the casting is stuffed with major faces from the heydey of Vaudeville. For most of these performers, uncredited as they were, this is the only recording of parts of their act. Enjoy the silliness and pretend you're at Minsky's.
The plot is thin, the premise even thinner. However, Grace Allen is her usual ebullient self, somehow even in her "dimwittedness" suggesting that some shrewd insights lie beneath the surface, and that everyone else is only a fall guy. The scenes with father and sister are sometimes extremely amusing, but the primary distinctive feature of the film is that it gives the viewer the opportunity to see many of the old vaudeville acts in their pristine form, as Gracie the heiress opens her home to the out of work performers. Probably these were performers who appeared in vaudeville with Burns and Allen themselves.
Burns and Allen who usually were in support of other stars got to carry
this one by themselves. It is a laugh riot from start to finish. Trying
to keep his normal daughter, Betty Furness from marrying a gigolo,
George Barbier turns over his fortune to his other dimwitted daughter,
Gracie Allen. What follows is one madcap situation after another as
Gracie turns their home into a hotel for unemployed actors and then
decided to produce her own show.
As good as Gracie is, mention must be made of George Barbier. A fine character actor who played fathers, his blustering reactions to Gracie's schemes are worth seeing the movie in and of themselves.
Although billed as a Burns and Allen vehicle, it's actually George
Barbier who has the main role and carries the weight of the comedy in
this enjoyable, well-produced "B" movie. Not that I'm complaining.
Barbier is not only more than equal to the task, he carries off more
laughs than the dithery Miss Allenwho is delightfully partnered here
not only by Barbier but by Andrew Tombes who makes the most of one of
his largest and most ingratiating roles ever. George Burns has only a
small role and seems to have been included in the cast simply to serve
as an occasional butt for why-don't-you-marry-Gracie jokes.
Other players who register more strongly than Mr Burns include Betty Furness (as the daughter who comes to her senses), Rafael Storm (as the money hound), James Burke (as the fake swami), Syd Saylor (a credulous taxi-driver), and Harry Holman (a disillusioned crony).
As for the twelve (count them) vaudeville headline acts announced in the credit titles, we see only two (three if you count the fact that drummer Jack Powell is handed two bites), although five or six others flit by in the background.
This was not the only time that Gracie Allen played screwball sidekick to another than hubby George Burns! As in this Paramount she marvelously is the comedy relief to George Barbier, In COLLEGE SWING (Bob Hope's first Paramount) Gracie ABSOLUTELY has Burns forgotten as she plays her Scatter brained character against that of Edward Everett Horton!!! THE TEAMING IS SO GREAT & PERFECT in such a teaming that Burns is delegated to that of Horton's straight man assistant & You Almost Forget About Him! Gracie & Horton are such a tremendously perfect pairing that one even forgets Hope, tho Martha Raye's loud antics can't help but keep you knowing she's in the cast!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When millionaire George Barbier comes of retirement age, he horrifies
his oldest daughter Betty Furness by leaving his entire fortune in the
hands of his idiotic daughter Gracie Allen instead. How dumb is she you
ask. Good question. She's so dumb that she goes underneath her bed to
read Dr. Jekyll and hide. She also ran over a fat man because she
didn't think she had enough gas to get around him. Barbier fears the
worst because Furness is in love with a stereotypical Spanish gigolo.
He retires to the country pretending to be a pauper while Gracie turns
the mansion upside down in order to put on a big musical she hopes will
flop in one night. I wonder if this is where Bielestock and Bloom got
their similar nutty idea...
A silly comedy with a few late musical interludes is one of many farcial views of the lives of the wealthy during the depression. If the idea of Gracie as a musical producer and its star doesn't have you rolling your eyes, try Allen as Juliet and being upset that Shakespeare couldn't make it. George Burns adds his wry commentary as Barbier's lawyer and the object of Allen's affections. Considering that the film barely lasts over an hour, it's all pretty innocuous and sometimes mildly amusing.
I gotta admit up front that I am not a huge Burns & Allen fan. To me,
their type of humor goes a long way and I can take them only in small
doses. In light of this, it is a bit surprising that I'd watch a DVD
with three of their films. My overall verdict isn't that different from
what I expected and "Here Comes Cookie" is probably my favorite film of
The film starts with a plot that makes no sense at all--and this set up is the weakest element of the movie because it is so contrived. A rich man, Mr. Allen, is frustrated at his one grown daughters. She wants to marry a man who obviously is a sleazy fortune-hunter--a man who wants to get a hold of the father's millions. So, to make this daughter less attractive to the sleazy Lothario, he transfers all his money to his other daughter, Gracie. Now considering that Gracie's IQ is 12 and she has the common sense of the Octo-mom, the idea of letting Gracie run the finances is pretty tough to believe. However, I must admit that some of the insane things she did were kind of funny...to a point. Instead of exercising common sense (???), Gracie turns her home into a boarding house for bizarre stage acts and wants to put on a show. Most of the acts are pretty lame, but I did enjoy watching the guy with the drumsticks--especially at the end of the film.
Overall, the film has some fun moments but also a few that fall pretty flat. Plus, combined with a dumb plot device, the film is probably not one to convert the average viewer into a fan of the comedy team. But, it's also harmless fun and worth a look if you like this sort of thing.
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