|Index||5 reviews in total|
.....this one should not be missed. Usually limited to a few minutes of
screen time as a mercurial, frustrated figure of supposed authority (cop,
manager of some sort) with a very short fuse, MacBride logs many minutes
here in a juicy supporting role, allowed to exhibit a seemingly full range
of mugging, double-takes, arm-waving and growling. Perhaps insufferable to
some, but if you care for his shtick, it is presented to great advantage
here. Like Leon Errol's Lord Epping, if you are a fan you can't get too
much of a good thing.
Lupe Velez is very much in the background in this entry, and Mantan Moreland, with notable comic skills, has little to do. The gangsters hiding in the basement are an awkward insertion, unrelated to the story line - such as it is. MacBride steals the show, in perhaps his greatest performance.
I'm a big fan of the "Mexican Spitfire" series, and thought
this entry would be a good "haunted house comedy". It
Both Lupe Valez and Mantan Moreland are completely wasted in this
The only thing that saves it (and not by much!) is Leon Errol's "Lord Epping" routine, but even THAT is much better in the other "Spitfire" films. Don't waste your time with this one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Uncle Matt (Leon Errol) once again dones Lord Epping disguise to get
business associate Donald MacBride to sign a business deal for his
nephew (Charles 'Buddy' Rogers). Faster than Carmelita (Lupe Velez) can
say "okey dokey" or "honky donkey", Lord Epping returns, Aunt Della
(Elisabeth Risdon) complains and schemes, and Carmelita unleashes a
whole new slew of malapropisms as only a "Mexican Spitfire" can. It's
all formula, but fun formula, and the more I watch this series, the
more it reminds me of an episode of TV's "Bewitched" with Errol and
Velez always saving the day when it comes to her husband's business
The alleged ghost never appears, although there's light chat about it, and a balloon floating through the supposedly haunted mansion at night with a spooky face on it does scare Aunt Della into clinging onto Lord Epping for life, having earlier discovered Matt was impersonating him. This leads to some hysterical innuendo for the prim and proper matron with MacBride's slow burn getting faster every time he catches Risdon in the arms of either Errol as Epping or him as her nagged husband. The lack of slapstick though diminishes the amount of laughs which are still there, just not as riotous.
It's time for another Mexican Spitfire movie starring Leon Errol. At
least this entry in the series does away with any pretensions and
starts the movie off with Errol's Lord Epping followed by Errol's Uncle
Matt. It's ten minutes into the movie before Lupe Velez's Carmelita
shows up. The plot here has Lord Epping asking Dennis (Charles "Buddy"
Rogers) to entertain some friends at Epping's country estate while
Epping himself goes off hunting. When the friends get there, they're
not happy that Epping is a no-show. So, shocker of shockers, Uncle Matt
has to pose as Lord Epping while Carmelita is asked to pose as a maid.
Then, of course, the real Lord Epping shows up. Oh and there are
gangsters in the basement who try to scare everybody out of the house
by pretending to be ghosts. Good grief.
Lots of predictable gags, a few of which manage to be amusing. Velez is her usual obnoxious self, not that it matters since she's a supporting player in a movie that she's supposed to be the star of. Welcome to the Mexican Spitfire series. Bug-eyed comic relief Mantan Moreland is also in this. The biggest surprise in the movie is that, despite the ghost angle, Moreland never does his "afraid of spooks" routine. Thank heaven for small favors. Even Donald MacBride can't save this. He plays a nervous wreck who shouts through most of the movie and it's highly annoying. It's a shame since I usually like him.
This series is riddled with flaws and this movie highlights most of them. Every movie has basically the same plot of Uncle Matt posing as Lord Epping then the real Epping showing up. It stopped being funny after the second movie. I'm not a big fan of Lupe Velez but others are and I'm sure they are disappointed to watch a movie for her just to see her play a supporting part. It's a stale series by this point and the addition of other comic actors doesn't seem to help any, particularly since the focus at all times remains on Errol.
Lord Epping has to impress the Fitzbadden's at his country estate even though he has a hunting trip scheduled. Not a problem he thinks as he gets Dennis to host the brother & sister with his Aunt Della leaving Carmelita and Uncle Matt behind. Since Edith Fitzbadden plans to give an account to Dennis & Lord Epping, she is insulted when the latter is not their to greet them and threatens to leave. Matt (who with Carmelita have been hired as servants at the house) is talked into impersonating Lord Epping to keep the Fitzbaddens happy, but confusion reigns when Lord Epping actually arrives and drives the Fitzbaddens nuts, especially Percy, also coupled with the fact that a group of smugglers is using the house as a hideout until the police quit searching for them and they are also making things disappear. Probably the weakest of the 8 Spitfire films not because this is the umpteenth time they are using the same formula, but the fact that this could have been a fun haunted house comedy, but that element is almost non existent in the film. MacBride probably steals the show as Percy Fitzbadden going nuts at the drop of a hat and in hysterics trying to comprehend the confusion caused by Errol's dual role. Watch it only if you have to watch the entire series. Rating, 4.
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