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I've seen Pardon My Sarong over 10 times now and have to consider it
one of Bud & Lou's best films, up there with Ride 'em cowboy, Meets
Frankenstein, Hold that ghost etc. PMS is more distinctly episodic than
most of their others and would present a Plot Coherency Issue with
impatient first-comers, but if got through a sparkling atmospheric
musical comedy lies within. The early '40's Universal Harmless Escapist
Entertainment atmosphere helps a lot though, this must have been made
straight after Hellzapoppin - wasn't that front porch outside the
maggickan's cabaret show where Hugh Herbert's Eat At Joe's dickie blew
The boys are illicitly taking Robert Paige's entertainment troupe from Chicago to LA in a bus - all those women in tow and he falls for one who is out to nobble him. Tip, Tap & Toe provide some amazing dance scenes (not quite a rhythmic brainstorm though), alongside the lilting Ink Spots. Detective William Demarest briefly tries to stop them but gives up the chase when they and the plot veer toward a South Seas island. Here "Lovely Luana" & "Vingo Jingo" are put over by a gorgeous Nan Wynn, while Leif Erickson plays a stinker and Lionel Atwill as usual plays a baddie because he was one.
There's plenty of nicely contrived snappy routines for us aficionados: The old baseball story; Hiding from Demarest; "Back up! Go ahead!"; Sharing a pea for dinner etc. Not a lot for non-fans however - I think a better introduction to A&C for anyone interested would be Meets Frankenstein or maybe Time of their lives. And this one is definitely best watched sober!
People who weren't around in 1942 - as I was - will not appreciate
that, although we all loved Bud and Lou, in this fast moving wacky
comedy, Forties cinema-goers worldwide wanted bags of *jazzy* Swing
Music to help it along...hence the glut of songs and production
For today's latter-day critics who would seem to be complaining about *too many musical numbers* in this talkie, I would ask you to understand that - at this time - nearly every studio was working overtime to make just such musical films, and indeed it was as if the public's appetite for these lovely melodious lyrics, and catchy rhythmic tunes, could never be satisfied.
So, watch it again, and don't worry about the music: that's what made the world go round in those happier, less smart-assed, less cool and less funky days...days, when *pop* music was there to entertain and unite everyone in the entire family, as opposed to using it as a device to exclude all but one isolated age group, to the detriment of the rest, as would seem to appertain today.
Until the VHS of Pardon My Sarong was released I had never seen the
complete film. When I was a lad and WPIX television in New York City
used to show Abbott and Costello films every Sunday morning, the film
always began with Costello crashing that bus into the harbor. I used to
wonder why as prominent an actor like William Demarest had such a brief
So when I was a kid I missed the Ink Spots do a number and I missed cop Bill Demarest get bamboozled by A&C. Both Abbott and Costello disguise themselves as a magician and make Demarest the fall guy for some gags. This might be the only time Abbott was ever a comic in any of their films and he was good.
I guess the Chicago Transit company didn't want to put two buses in jeopardy which was why both boys were on the same bus. Millionaire Yachtsman Robert Paige has some how talked these two into leaving their Michigan Avenue route and driving him and a bevy of beauties to Los Angeles for the start of a boat race.
Of course having lost their jobs as bus drivers with this harebrained move the boys sign on with Paige as a yacht crew along with Virginia Bruce who is the sister of one of Paige's rivals and they get blown off course and wind up on an island Dorothy Lamour would be found on if the film had been made at Paramount.
Don't ask me how, but the natives make Costello some kind of Deity and he gets to be the big man on campus there. Of course we also have resident villain Lionel Atwill looking to loot some treasure.
Like Douglass Dumbrille in a few Abbott and Costello films, Atwill looked like he was having a great old time burlesquing his own sinister image, especially in the chase sequence at the end.
One of the best from Abbott and Costello's early Universal days.
Having returned to Universal following MGM's somewhat disappointing "Rio
Rita," Abbott and Costello get back on track with "Pardon My Sarong," sort
of their version of the Hope-Crosby "Road" pictures.
A&C play Chicago bus drivers, who through a series of funny machinations, end up on a tropic isle with evil Lionel Atwill. There are many funny moments both at sea and on the island.
If there are people who don't like Abbott and Costello, it is probably because they don't like Abbott's often callous treatment of Costello. While this is part of their characterizations, and is often funny, the screenwriters went admittedly overboard in "Sarong." While Virginia Bruce does stand up to Abbott on Costello's behalf several times, one tasteless gag includes Abbott matter-of-factly giving Costello a gun to shoot himself! Such gags have limited the duo's appeal over time, but if looked upon broadly, "Sarong" is a funny film and shows A&C at their peak, which ran roughly from 1941 to 1945. 7 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Two unlikely buddies hijack a bus, stow away on a charter boat, land on
an uncharted island, and save the sacred ruby of Mantua. On paper, the
concept doesn't seem to work, but with Abbott and Costello, anything is
possible. In "Pardon My Sarong", all this and more combine to present a
musical comedy that works even after sixty years.
Watching the night club scene, it occurred to me that you never see any act today that features tap dancing, but the efforts of the team of Tic, Tac and Toe make for a very entertaining presentation, combining originality, athleticism and choreography all rolled into one. The musical stylings of The Four Ink Spots are also a treat, and a reasonable alternative to the Andrews Sisters who graced a number of the comedy duo's earlier films.
When I saw this movie as a kid, the Big Stinker routine always made me roar, and surprisingly, it still holds up pretty well today in the chuckle department. It's neatly complemented by the "Tree of Truth" gag, with Lou taking his licks each time he makes a comment.
There's also a bevy of pretty girls around to offset the nefarious deeds of the evil Doctor Varnoff (Lionel Atwill) and his henchmen. It all combines to make an entertaining hour and a half of antic fun for the "moola" team of Abbott and Costello.
Having reviewed Laurel & Hardy in Pardon Us a few days ago, I'm now commenting on Abbott & Costello's Pardon My Sarong. The significance of these two being submitted so close together is what I'll mention when I'm nearing the end. Right now, I'll just say that this is the funniest of the early A & C vehicles that I've just rewatched on YouTube. And not only are Bud & Lou at the top of their game-how refreshing to see Abbott get a few good laughs himself here-but the rest of the cast, including the romantic leads of Robert Paige and Virginia Bruce seem to be having fun every step of the way. I mean, William Demarest as a cop and Leif Erickson as the "Biggest Stinker of Them All" (LOL) are great foils for the team. And the musical interludes by The Four Ink Spots and Nan Wynn are soooo enjoyable to me! Really, Pardon My Sarong is one of the most fun of the A & C pictures. Okay, so the reason that Pardon Us and Pardon My Sarong have gotten comments from me on the closest of days is because since Black History Month is only a few days away, I've been mentioning the contributions of various performers of color to these movies. So with this one, we have not only The Four Ink Spots (Deek Watson, Charles Fuqua, Hoppy Jones, Bill Kenny) but also a tap dancing trio named Tip, Tap, and Toe (Ted Fraser, Samuel Green, and Ray Winfield who was the innovator of the sliding style of tap as evidenced by the way he glided on that table during The Four Ink Spots second set. Really impressive, that was especially when I watched it a second time!), and the choreographer of those island dances led by Ms. Wynn was Katherine Dunham. They were quite sexy especially "Vingo Jingo". By the way, Ms. Dunham studied and began practicing her art in Chicago, Ill., my birthtown (Chicago was also where the bus driven by Bud and Lou in the picture's beginning came from). One more thing, I always like to acknowledge whenever players from my favorite movie, It's a Wonderful Life, are in other films and TV shows. Here it's Charles Lane as Bud & Lou's superior at the bus terminal and Samuel S. Hinds as one of the natives. They both previously were in A & C's last Universal movie before this one, Ride 'Em Cowboy.
Probably not one of Abbott and Costello's shining moments. It's funny in spots ("Go ahead, back up"), but it lacks comic momentum. 5 musical numbers are simply too many for an 80-minute comedy. The numbers are interesting in their own right, but not well-integrated into the story, and not as catchy as some of those in another A & C film of the same period, "In The Navy". And although I have absolutely nothing against Black & White films, the tropical island setting of this one might have benefited from being shot in luscious Technicolor. On the plus side, the special effects are very impressive for their age, and as Luana, the island tribe chief's daughter, Nan Wynn is a dazzling exotic beauty - without exaggeration, one of the most beautiful women I have EVER seen. (**1/2)
I wanted to see this film because my grandfather acted in it. His name is James Spencer. This film was very fun to see and watch the entertainment of the war years. I specially enjoyed the songs and dancing in this film. There is very little of that kind of entertainment in today's films. A great shame! "The Boys", Lou & Bud, were never better!
This is pure silliness at its best. If you plan to watch, bring your sense
of silly. A native dance turns into a nightclub act; Lou the bus driver
confused by the instructions "go ahead and back up"; and many other
Bud and Lou obviously had a great time making this movie (Lou is hysterically funny). A smile never left my face during the last half of it, even though this a 60+ year old movie now. I'm sure it was popular escapist fun for Allied troops during WWII.
Abbott and Costello play bus drivers who steal their company's bus to chauffeur playboy Robert Paige and his lady friends around. Detective William Demarest chases after them. Through a series of events Bud, Lou, Paige, and Virginia Bruce wind up on a tropical island where Lionel Atwill is up to no good. Among the island natives are Leif Erickson (!) and Samuel S. Hinds (!!), as well as gorgeous Nan Wynn. She sings a couple of nice songs and there's also some great musical numbers from the Ink Spots and Tip, Tap, Toe. Romantic subplot with Paige and Bruce is one of those tired old "she hates him but she really likes him" things. It's putrid and the worst part of the movie. Virginia's nice to look at, though. The comedy is good, with Abbott & Costello getting to do some funny bits with William Demarest in the first half. Once it moves to the island Bud kind of fades into the background and it's Lou's show from then on. This is a pretty good A&C movie. Not their funniest but funny enough with some nice music and a good supporting cast to help out. It's completely impossible for any movie with both William Demarest and Lionel Atwill in it to be bad.
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