Bud and Lou enlist in the army in order to escape being hauled off to jail, and soon find themselves in boot camp. To their dismay, the company's drill instructor is none other than the cop... See full summary »
Russ Raymond, America's number one crooner, disappears and joins the Navy under the name Tommy Halstead. Dorothy Roberts, a magazine journalist, is intent on finding out what happened to ... See full summary »
Two ghosts who were mistakenly branded as traitors during the Revolutionary War return to 20th century New England to retieve a letter from George Washington which would prove their ... See full summary »
Two bumbling service station attendants are left as the sole beneficiaries in a gangster's will. Their trip to claim their fortune is sidetracked when they are stranded in a haunted house ... See full summary »
Two volunteer firemen rescue a gold prospector from suicide. However, once they discover that the police mistakenly want them for murder, they travel with the prospector to Alaska to help ... See full summary »
Jonesy and Lou are in Algeria looking for a wrestler they are promoting. Sergeant Axmann tricks them into joining the Foreign Legion, after which they discover Axmann's collaboration with ... See full summary »
Calvin Jones is a cowboy who wants to invest in a Broadway play. Ruth Weston, a secretary, learns that her boss, Joe Lehman, is attempting to swindle Jones and pulls a successful coup d'etat producing a play that she stars in.
New Yorkers Bill and Connie Fuller have to move from their apartment. Without Bill's knowledge, Connie purchases a delapidated old farmhouse in Pennsylvania, where George Washington was ... See full summary »
Noted writer Kenneth Bixby, in love with his witty secretary Anne Rogers, nevertheless agrees to a tete-a-tete with a former college fling, loopy Danish girl Julie who is married to ... See full summary »
After being fired from their jobs as clerks in a pet store, Doc and Wishey, a couple of bumpkins, hide in the trunk of a car that they think will take them to New York. Somehow, however, they end up in Texas where they help to facilitate the romance of a popular Latin singer and the owner of a resort hotel while exposing a gang of Fifth-Columnists. Written by
7/10 ***½ Abbott and Costello Meet Kathryn Grayson
Cast: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Kathryn Grayson.
Director: S. Sylvan Simon.
Abbott & Costello's three MGM films (RIO RITA, LOST IN A HAREM and ABBOTT AND COSTELLO IN Hollywood) are slicker, more polished and slightly more sophisticated in tone than their Universal series begun with BUCK PRIVATES. They also lack the brash energy that makes those films so enduring in entertainment value.
Even so, one personally finds RIO RITA to be one of the better movies the classic comedy team were associated with. It must, however, be approached with the understanding that it is a Musical with comedy rather than the other way around.
RIO RITA is an updated, entirely re-written version of Florenz Ziegfeld's comic operetta, previously filmed in 1929 with star comics Wheeler and Woolsey repeating their roles from the Broadway blockbuster.
Bud and Lou receive first billing due to their great popularity, but the new production is a primarily a vehicle for pretty young soprano Kathryn Grayson (ANCHORS AWEIGH, SHOW BOAT, KISS ME KATE!) who was then being groomed for MGM stardom as an answer to Universal's Deanna Durbin. Hence the focus is on Grayson who performs several good songs (including two from the original show) and an operatic aria which displays her formidable vocal ability.
Even more than A&C's other early movies, comedy takes rather a back seat to music and romance. Even the dated dramatic situation involving Nazis infiltrating a Western ranch, original to this version, is secondary to the charms of the leading lady.
RIO RITA is, not unlike Abbott and Costello's introductory Musical Comedy film ONE NIGHT IN THE TROPICS, a matter of taste. Fortunately, it is a taste that can be acquired. Personally, one loves Musicals, is fond of Kathryn Grayson and is an admirer of Abbott & Costello; therefore one was thoroughly primed to enjoy this. The movie is recommended to all fans of the comedy team, but some may need several viewings, music and all, to come to terms with it.
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