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Butch Minds the Baby (1942)

Approved | | Comedy | 20 March 1942 (USA)
The Broadway citizen Aloysius 'Butch' Grogan is known far and wide to be involved with criminal activities. Butch is motivated to pursue a life of crime in order to provide the lovely widow... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Dennis Devlin
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Brandy Smith
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'Blinky' Smith
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Wyoming
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Cactus Pete
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Jack the Beefer
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Carrington
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Philly the Weeper
Rosina Galli ...
Mrs. Talucci
Joe King ...
Police Lieutenant
Eddie Foster ...
Hot Horse Herbie
Jimmy O'Gatty ...
Spanish John
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Storyline

The Broadway citizen Aloysius 'Butch' Grogan is known far and wide to be involved with criminal activities. Butch is motivated to pursue a life of crime in order to provide the lovely widow Susie O'Neill with the funds to support herself and her little son. Butch is the lookout for a gang of safe crackers. One of them is forced to bring his squalling baby son along with him on the job. Butch is obliged to mind the baby while the safe is being knocked over. Written by Robert

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Hard-Boiled Yeggs with Soft-Boiled Hearts!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

20 March 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La mascotte dei fuorilegge  »

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(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 12, 1950 with Broderick Crawford reprising his film role. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Third-rate Runyon-imitation screenplay!
12 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

Although produced by Damon Runyon himself, this movie by no means a satisfactory transcription of his short story, completely missing the verve and vitality, and above all the signature characterizations, language and mise-en-scene of the original. Yet Spigelgass has gone out of his way to add a whole host of new people with flashy Runyonesque names. But unfortunately, that's all they are: Names, not believable people.

The original story has only nine characters to speak of: the unnamed narrator, Butch and his baby, Harry the Horse, Spanish John, Little Isadore (who has not a single word of direct dialogue), a watchman, a fat police sergeant and an eager-beaver copper.

More Broadway identities milling around do not necessarily a better motion picture make, though it must be admitted that Shemp Howard's "Blinky" is more inspired than all the other additions. On the other hand, Broderick Crawford is simply not sufficiently Runyonesque to play the title role. In fact, as stated, all the film's characters are sketchily drawn, one-dimensional figures that have neither been filled in nor rounded out. (Considerably handicapped as they are, it's no wonder that few of the players make any impression). Nor is this the limit of the screenplay's defects. The plot now seems too weak to hold an audience's interest for 75 minutes. For a two-reeler, the one-themed story would suffice, but it has been quite inadequately strengthened for a feature-length film.

Rogell's heavy-handed and ponderously slow-moving direction doesn't help either. And even Woody Bredell's photography seems several notches below his usual standard, while the sets too have a distinctly grade "B" aura about them.

All told, a very disappointing and mediocre effort.


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