Alexander Botts is a self-described natural born salesman and master mechanic, who is trying to make a big sale of Earthworm tractors to grouchy lumberman Johnson. Since Botts doesn't ...
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W.S. Van Dyke
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Alexander Botts is a self-described natural born salesman and master mechanic, who is trying to make a big sale of Earthworm tractors to grouchy lumberman Johnson. Since Botts doesn't really know anything about tractors, and since the old-fashioned Johnson is opposed to tractors of any kind, it isn't going to be an easy sell. But Botts perseveres, encouraged by Johnson's daughter. Written by
Takes a while to get moving but really gathers steam. Employs one of the most sure-fire comedy recipes: take a gung-ho dimwit and pair him with a grumpy old coot and you're just about guaranteed to get laughs. I wasn't really familiar with Joe E. Brown's work before this movie and had generally avoided films from the 30's (for no good reason) but consider me a fan. He's a funny guy, though perhaps it's a brand of humor that works best in the 1930's. His "natural born salesman" Alexander Botts never loses confidence in his abilities despite the fact that he is quite frankly, a total screw-up. What is somewhat unique about his comic persona is that he gleefully, recklessly puts himself in situations where he is in way over his head and knows it, but doesn't seem to care. One way or another, he's sure he will always land on his feet. This sort of attitude must have had enormous appeal in the Depression era.
Maybe a little too broad and "cute" at times, it is also quite inspired at others. It has a carefree loopiness that's very endearing and some rather elaborate stunts and sight gags. The whole thing is really just a fun loving excuse to get Brown and Guy Kibbee (who is a master at the art of bloated befuddlement) together and watch the sparks fly.
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