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In this film, I think Costello wanted to add a bit more depth to his
character. He is a taxi driver and Abbott is is pal.
Costello inadvertently kills a horse and takes it upon himself to replace
it. as Mr Warner, the bad tempered manager who keeps popping up in the
film. The songs have been blasted but I rather like them.
There is real character to this film and a good atmosphere. There are many funny gags here and Eugene pallette is hilarious
I would of liked Erle C. Kenton to of directed more than just 3 Abbott and Costello movies. he directed some of 'Hit the Ice' too till he fell out with Lou and was replaced with Charles Lamont who said it would only be a one off!!! This is a very pleasing film for Abbott and Costello fans and the kids would love it too. They don't make em like this anymore!
Universal kept Abbott&Costello very busy during the World War II years.
They made so many films one wonders when they had time to do personal
tours and war bond rallies. One of the more unusual items the team made
was It Ain't Hay which was taken from one of Damon Runyon's Broadway
stories. You'll recognize some of the character names from Guys And
Lou Costello accidentally kills Cecil Kellaway's horse. Kellaway drives a horse drawn cart in Central Park and Lou's guilt, plus the guilt laid on him by everyone else including Bud in a great scene, makes him buy a horse that some racing stable was selling.
Problems arise when Bud and Lou discover they have the wrong horse, the horse they were to buy was a dead ringer for the champion 'Teabiscuit'. The boys pick up the real Teabiscuit, but when they discover the mistake are determined to cash in on it.
The movie is plainly ripped off from the Marx Brothers A Day At The Races, but that doesn't prevent it from being funny. One definite weakness was that the musical score in the Marx film was a lot better than what Harry Revel and Paul Francis Webster wrote for It Ain't Hay. Still Leighton Noble and Grace McDonald handle the music end nicely and it doesn't get in the way of A&C's routines. And Eugene Palette as the villain gets a few laughs himself as he always does.
It Ain't Hay is not often shown and that's a pity. Catch it if possible and hope it comes out on both VHS and DVD.
The comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were in their prime in
the 1940's (particularly the early 1940's) and this offering from 1943
is very funny indeed. Based on a Damon Runyon story "Princess O'Hara"
(and featuring some of the classic Runyon characters such as Harry the
Horse), it's been tailored for the A & C brand of comedy, and features
some of their funniest routines (the "mudder & fodder" exchange, which
was repeated in their later film "The Noose Hangs High"; stealing the
horse, the climactic horse race scene, etc.) Like most of their early
features (with the notable exception of the great "Who Done It"),
there's also the mandatory songs - they are a mild intrusion, but on
their own merit are quite good. (These song numbers were a stock
element in the Universal comedies at the time, so you just have to
tolerate them, but, like in the Marx Brothers comedies, they did seem
to be there just to "pad out" the running time.) There's also a gem of
a supporting performance by the great character actor Eugene Palette.
Unfortunately, "It Ain't Hay" is currently tied up in legal knots, which keeps it out of circulation at the present time. Due to this, it was not included in the great A & C collection released recently on DVD by MCA, nor has it been shown on television for many years. Hopefully these legal issues will be resolved, and this fine example of the great comedy duo's work will receive the distribution it deserves.
Abbott and Costello are at their very best in this agreeable comedy. They play a couple of Manhattan taxi drivers with a fondness for a sweet young girl and her horse. Costello means well in trying to be nice to the animal, but his feeding it candy ultimately causes the horse to get sick - and die. So he and Abbott set out to make things right by getting a new horse for the girl, whose dad (Cecil Kellaway) runs a horse and carriage ride in the city. I know that synopsis sounds rather dramatic, but there is a lot of well-staged comedy between the serious moments. And Bud and Lou are as sharp in ever performing them. Some routines include: their classic "the horse eats his fodder", the boys getting swindled at a phony horse race outfit, Lou getting into trouble at a restaurant for not being able to pay his check, and other assorted gags. Third Stooge Shemp Howard also has a part, but the real fun comes courtesy of fat man Eugene Palette, who is the perfect foil for Costello's antics. As with almost all of A&C's movie of this period, there is some singing and dance numbers here; however, I find them to be rather entertaining and endurable this time out. *** out of ****
Abbott & Costello meet Damon Runyon in this adaptation of his story,
"Princess O'Hara." This is the second film version of that story, the
first (and best) being the 1935 Chester Morris film. In what has to be
one of the darkest beginnings to a comedy story ever, Lou accidentally
kills a girl's horse. Feeling bad about it (you would hope so!), Lou
and Bud try to find another horse to replace the dead one.
This is definitely more Abbott & Costello than Runyon. Pretty much every scene involves the boys setting up (frankly obvious) routines, trying to score a "Who's on first?" but coming up with a "What was that?" Still, it's pleasant and sometimes pretty funny. Good cast backing up the boys includes Cecil Kellaway, Samuel Hinds, Patsy O'Connor, Shemp Howard, and Eddie Quillan. The obligatory banal lovebirds for the romantic subplot are Leighton Noble and Grace McDonald. The movie's scene stealer is Eugene Palette. The best parts of the movie are the jokes that break the fourth wall, like when Shemp Howard is asked why he's holding an umbrella and says "Who knows? I'm a Damon Runyon character." or Lou's joke about Universal.
It Ain't Hay (1943)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
I can finally say I've seen every Abbott and Costello film. It took me a while but I finally track down a copy of this one, which hasn't ever been released on home video due to some sort of rights issue. In the film, Costello accidentally kills a little girl's horse so he sets out to get her a new one. After waiting so long to finally see this one it really didn't turn out to be anything overly special. There are still some good gags but nothing too classic, although an inside joke about Universal was pretty nice. The "horse eats its father" joke was a highlight as was another scene where the boys try to pull a fast one and sneak off without paying for their lunch. Shemp Howard co-stars but it's Eugene Palette who really steals the film.
As Youngster this comedy team became no.1 with me.They were the best at
their craft.Another of their great movies was A/C Meet Captain Kidd.
Iam looking forward to it's release,thank you for allowing me to
How much I have enjoyed all A/C movies. Thank you much appreciated and keep up the fine job you people do. I am an avid fan of A/C movies. The collection I have of their movies is great to this point in time. Two of my real favorites are The Time of Their Lives and Pardon My Sarong. I also have some photos of them. Which I cherish very much.Eventually I hope to have all 37 of their movie collection.
IT AIN'T HAY (Universal, 1943), directed by Erle C. Kenton, stars the
popular comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in a horse racing
story based on "Princess O'Hara" by Damon Runyon. Previously filmed as
PRINCESS O'HARA by Universal (1935) starring Jean Parker and Chester
Morris, this 1943 edition is a very loose adaptation to the Runyon
tale, being more emphasis on Abbott and Costello than the title
character of Princess O'Hara, here played by an appealing youngster by
the name of Patsy O'Connor.
The plot development introduces Princess Peggy O'Hara (Patsy O'Connor) as a carriage driver of New York City giving a ride to Private Joe Collins (Leonard Noble) and his girl, Kitty McGloin (Grace MacDonald) as they go through Central Park. Peggy and her father, King O'Hara (Cecil Kellaway) are best friends with Wilbur Hoolihan (Lou Costello), a taxi driver, and his shiftless partner, Grover Mockridge (Bud Abbott). After Wilbur gives their horse, Finnigan, some of his peppermint candy, the horse becomes sick, with Wilbur being the only one who can cure him with a giant horse pill. Sadly, the horse dies, leaving Grover and Wilbur to make amends by earning enough money to buy the Princess a new horse. With one thing leading to another, such as unwittingly buying a police horse, three gamblers, Umbrella Sam (Shemp Howard), a "Damon Runyon" character, Harry the Horse (Eddie Quillan) and Chauncey the Eye (David Hacker) leading them to the upstate stables of Empire Track where they are to acquire a free horse. Instead, Grover and Wilbur end up getting Tea Buscuit, the world's famous racehorse belonging to Colonel Brainard (Samuel S. Hinds), who offers $10,000 reward for its return. Realizing what they have done, and learning that King O'Hara has taken both horse and carriage to Saratoga with the stolen horse, Wilbur, along with Kitty, Joe and Wilbur, drive his taxi to Saratoga, followed by the three gamblers out for the reward, and encounter a tough efficiency expert, Gregory Warner (Eugene Palette), now hotel manager, whom they have met earlier encountered earlier on several occasions, to add to their troubles.
As in many Abbott and Costello comedies up to this point, production numbers are added for entertainment value, including those scored by Harry Revel and Paul Francis Webster: "The Sunday Serenade" and "Old Timer" (both sung by Patsy O'Connor); "Glory Be" (introduced by Grace MacDonald, sung by others, including The Vagabonds, followed by specialty skating acts by The Hollywood Blondes and tap dancing routines by The Step Brothers); "Let's Smile With Music" and "Hang Your Troubles on a Rainbow" (both sung by Leonard Noble). While Noble's character, Joe, talks about doing an Army show throughout the story, it's obvious what was intended for a grand finale became nothing more than a brief montage of deleted song numbers with more attention focused on Abbott and Costello and Eugene Palette.
An exceptional comedy with assortment of old and new Abbott and Costello gags and chase sequences, for being a horse racing story, it would be natural for them to include their famous "fodder and mutter" routine into the story. With Abbott and Costello being the sols attractions, Eugene Palette, the heavy man with the froggy voice, comes close in stealing every scene he's in. In fact, he's practically a running gag throughout the story, being everywhere involving the boys, including the cafeteria (look fast for Mike Mazurki as one of the burly bouncers), Colonel Brainard's stable, the Oaks Hotel in Saratoga, the race track and finally their confrontation at the musical show. Palette is certainly one person in this story who makes IT AIN'T HAY viewing pleasure. The Sportsman's Club involving Big-Hearted Charlie (Andrew Toombes) and the double-dealing Slicker (Richard Lane) also ranks one of the funnier scenes in the story. There are a couple of sequences that come as a reminder of scenes lifted from earlier Marx Brothers comedies of both DUCK SOUP (Paramount, 1933) and A DAY AT THE RACES (MGM, 1937). Watch for it.
While Costello shows how he can excel in sentiment moments involving the death of the horse without making it hard to sit through, the only downside comes when a kid calls Wilbur a murderer. His acting is so bad and hard to sit through (though fortunately brief), it's a wonder how it passed through in the final print, unless this kid happened to be related to someone in the production staff. Getting past this uneasy moment, the rest of this 80 minute feature is smooth racing right down to the finish line.
Although IT AIN'T HAY enjoyed frequent television revivals throughout much of the 1970s and 80s, it was reportedly taken out of circulation due to legal complications involving the Damon Runyon estate, keeping the movie from ever being issued on video cassette or DVD. By 2008, the rights were resolved and IT AIN'T HAY has become available on DVD in all its glory. For Abbott and Costello, or even Eugene Palette fans, IT AIN'T HAY is well worth the gamble. (***)
I spent years and years searching for IT AIN'T HAY, as it was the only A&C film missing from my collection. I finally got it this past Christmas. It isn't one of their better films, but it's still Abbott and Costello, and very enjoyable. There are several songs toward the beginning of the film, but by the second half they tone down quite a bit, which helps the film big time. This film also features among the best versions of the "Mudder; Fodder" routine. Costello is particularly funny in this one, and also has a couple of moments where he shows what a great dramatic actor he could be. Like I said, it isn't BUCK PRIVATES or MEET FRANKENSTEIN, but it's still good old Bud and Lou doing what they do best, and that's good enough for any true fan.
This film has not been restored and the Bud and Lou routines are great with perfect timing. One of their best routines are when they are by the race horse which is pulling the open carriage and Lou is briefed on the horse being a mudder and that the horse eats his fodder. The Step Brothers dancing scene is top rate and I haven't seen anything like it anywhere else. The Damon Runyon dialogue is great but because of the studios and family licensing differences, this film will pass into oblivion. What a shame this will be lost when so many would really enjoy it. The copies that are available are of such poor quality you really can't enjoy them.
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