In Society (1944) Poster

(1944)

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8/10
Beagle Street??????????
Gary17045911 May 2007
Another nice little film from Bud & Lou, even if rushed and bodged together with Never Give A Sucker An Even Break at the end it's still a pleasant 70 minutes.

Two inept plumbers keeping their heads above water by working for both the expensive Ajax and cheap Atlas plumbing companies get called to repair a leak in swanky society house with disastrous results but afterwards find themselves invited to a Society garden party (in error), again with disastrous results. Baddie Thomas Gomez and his evil-doings were a side issue here, the comedy routines and the lilting songs were the thing. Marion Hutton supplied the songs, especially lustrous being What A Change In The Weather, done as only Universal ever knew how - and also the rather wooden romance. How different she was to her sister Betty! Languid and still mining the Hellzapoppin vein with popular music mixed with comedy and people disporting themselves in swimsuits, it meanders on to its startling plot course change after an hour and almost turns into a different film. Favourite bits: The boys' exit from Thurston Hall's bathroom; Don't blow the horn!; And of course the all-time classic burlesque sketch of Beagle Street (changed from Floogle Street)/The Susquehannah Hat Co!, adapted for this film by John Grant at Lou's behest. Lou also directed the routine in 1 take using friends as extras and 3 cameras.

Unassuming and inconsequential with no message and absolutely nothing for the serious fan of modern "comedy" – in other words, imho a marvellous film I watch every few years with no diminution of enjoyment.
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5/10
First film in a year
www112515 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I personally found this film lacking in greatness for some reason. It was the first A&C film to be released in a year due to Lou's bout with rheumatic fever, however it just wasn't the same as all of their previous films. Don't get me wrong. It's still a funny film and worth seeing(worth owning if like me you're a devoted A&C fan), just don't expect anything like they're best films. Although, it does contain the Susquehanna Hat Company routine, which is always funny to watch. Particularly the lane, "He ain't dead lady, he's hidin'!". And of course the plumbing scene at the beginning is a highlight. I think what gets me though is that Universal was so rude to put in a scene where Costello saves a man from drowning, to which Abbott gets onto him for saving the man without a license. The reason this gets me is because this was the first film after Lou's son had drowned, and that scene had to be hard on him. Overall an average comedy, but Abbott and Costello still manage to make it good.
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6/10
In Society (1944) **1/2
JoeKarlosi19 July 2005
Abbott and Costello are plumbers who accidentally get themselves invited to a High Society social event. Like so many of their films, this one's got a good amount of funny bits to enjoy, but they also come at the price of enduring some musical interruptions (at least Marion Hutton sings "No Bout Adoubt It" better than she can deliver dialogue). But ignoring those, some of the best gags in this movie include: Bud and Lou trashing a ritzy bathroom with their plumbing incompetence; a hilarious sequence where a policeman beats Costello up for blowing a car's horn late at night while Abbott doesn't lift a finger to help (they often revamped this routine in other films as well as their TV show, but it was never better done than it is here); Costello jumps in a pool to save a man's life and gets berated for it; and the classic highlight of the picture -- the "Bagel Street" bit where Lou attempts to get directions to the Susquehannah Hat Company from all sorts of nutty people he meets on the street. **1/2 out of ****
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6/10
Pretty good...
MartinHafer14 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Although Abbott and Costello were very popular in 1944, surprisingly, Universal Pictures still insisted on placing musical numbers in their films--an odd convention of the time and something that wouldn't be abandoned for another couple years. As I said, this is odd because people came to see Abbott and Costello and comedy--not production numbers and singing. Fortunately, this one has less singing than most but it still is the same old formula.

In this film, Abbott and Costello are idiot plumbers. One day, they are called to fix the plumbing at a mansion where there is a big society party. They make a mess of it but somehow are invited to the next party as guests! The two, in particular Lou, make a mess of things as they hang with the gentry. In addition to the silliness, there is a subplot involving a friend of theirs (a pretty young cab driver) who is also mistaken for a society lady, though this plot is 100% unnecessary and seems to have been added because the studio STILL couldn't trust an entire film to rest on the shoulders of Abbott and Costello--an odd thing, as they were the hottest thing in Hollywood at the time. Such romantic subplots are the norm for the early Universal films that the team made.

In addition to all this, a crook tries to insinuate himself into the party. He also tries to get the boys to help him with his scheme to steal a painting, though naturally they refuse and help to thwart his wicked plan. However, the final big fight scene is exceptionally lame--the result of using an obvious rear-projected film to hide that it was all done on the set. This "clever" ruse was in fact pretty sad at times.

There is also an old vaudeville skit in the film that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film. It's about taking a load of hats to Bagel Street and the Susquehanna Hat Company. The Three Stooges later did the same routine and I suspect many have done it over the years (including Lou for the "Abbott and Costello Show" on television). This version seems to be the best and although it's pretty stupid, you can't help but laugh! Overall, it's a mixed bag--a lot of laughs AND some stupid singing and low points as well. Worth seeing for Abbott and Costello fans but skipable for most others.
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Decent A&C
Michael_Elliott29 February 2008
In Society (1944)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Abbott and Costello play plummers who are accidentally invited to a rich person's house for the weekend where they much try to become part of society. Apparently A&C were causing a lot of troubles for the production of this thing due to a contract issue and the final results really show. This certainly isn't their worst film but it's certainly middle of the ground stuff. Most of the jokes just don't flow right as they seemed rushed and forced. Still, there are several minor laughs that keep this thing going for fans.
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5/10
"Susquehannah? Arrrrrrgh!"
gridoon11 April 2007
"In Society" has a promising set-up - Abbott and Costello as bumbling plumbers who get invited by mistake to a high-society weekend party and try to act as if they belong there - but the film doesn't exploit this premise for all it's worth. At its best, the film approaches the surreal craziness of the Marx Brothers movies (the flooded room, the Susquehannah Hat Company sketch, etc.). But there are too many songs, 4 to be specific in a 70-minute movie (though at least one of them, "No bout adout it", has likably crazy lyrics - "I sove you lo much, I mean I love you so much"), the back projection during the big chase scenes couldn't be more obvious, and Abbott's character is thoroughly obnoxious. (**)
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Hobnobbing with Bud & Lou - classic A & C slobs vs. snobs
george.schmidt10 April 2003
IN SOCIETY (1944)*** One of Abbott and Costello's finest and funniest comedies with the boys as bumbling plumbers hobnobbing with the hoi palloi with some amusing moments in one of the first snob/slob comedies. Best bit: "Bagel Street" bit with poor Lou being abused while trying to run an errand for a friend.
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8/10
The Infamous Susquehanna Hat Company On Beagle Street
bkoganbing18 September 2010
Years ago Alan King had a great line about plumbers that it was indeed a noble profession and should be celebrated the way astronauts are. Without plumbers King reasoned, we'd all be astronauts. But when you hire Abbott&Costello as plumbers you'd better be checked out in a space suit.

Bumbling plumbers Bud and Lou after wrecking the home of Thurston Hall and Nella Walker get invited to a big society bash when they get that instead of a threatening letter from Walker. When they went to that job they got a lift from their friend, Rosie the Riveteer cab driver Marion Hutton who was mistaken for a society girl in costume by Kirby Grant who was similarly attired. So begins Marion's Cinderella like odyssey.

In fact Marion and Kirby are given a great deal more screen footage than you would normally expect in an Abbott&Costello feature. I'm guessing that Universal was trying to turn Hutton into a big film star the way Paramount was doing with her older sister Betty. Marion was a lighter and sweeter version of Betty, maybe if she had a more distinct personality of her own she might have had a film career. In any event she was more interested in singing than acting. She got a couple of really good songs to sing, No Bout Adoubt It is in the style of her sister. And one of the big song hits of 1944 was introduced by Marion with My Dreams Are Getting Better All The Time. Television's future Sky King also has a fine number with What A Change In The Weather. This should prove a pleasant surprise to his fans who probably didn't know Kirby Grant started as a singer.

But Bud and Lou get their innings as well here as they make an ungodly mess of Thurston Hall's lovely home. And they do one of burlesque's celebrated routines, the famous Susquehanna Hat Company on Beagle Street. Who could possibly believe that such horrific events in people's lives could have happened on that street or been connected with that hat company?

The last chase sequence as society crook Thomas Gomez tries to steal a valuable painting on the fire engine is re-edited from W.C. Fields's Never Give A Sucker An Even Break. You'll recognize it of course if you are a fan of Fields, but it is certainly edited nicely into In Society.

This is one of the best A&C films from their early Universal period, a must for their still growing legion of fans.
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8/10
Society plumbers get mixed up with saving a plunger painting
weezeralfalfa31 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
As in most early Abbott and Costello films, there is a developing romantic couple who often served as singers. Here, we have Marian Hutton, sister of the more famous Betty Hutton, who appeared in several films, usually as a singer. Here, she is both singer and actress, playing a taxi driver who gets somewhat mixed up in A&C's doings. She hits it off with Kirby Grant, whom she meets at a costume ball. Kirby had done some singing and violin playing in his early career, but is mostly remembered as Sky King in the TV serial. While they dance at the ball, Marian sings "No Bout Adoubt It"(that's right),sounding much like her sister, but without her frequent demonstrative delivery. Later, while wandering in a garden, she sings "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time". While they are leisurely canoeing on a shady lake, Kirby sings "What a Change in the Weather." ....Also, Ann Gillis, who plays the daughter of a society matron, sings "Rehearsin'", while bathing beauties bounce colorful balls around the edge of a swimming pool. Ann's film career was mainly concentrated as a child actress.

The boys, as supposed plumbers, are called to fix a leaking faucet in the bedroom bathroom of wealthy Van Cleve(Thurston Hall) while he is supposed to be sleeping. They have no idea how to go about it. Their useless efforts only make the problem 1000X worse. Soon, the bathroom and bedroom are flooded, and when Mr. Van Cleve opens the bathroom door, the boys come out with a surge inside the bathtub!

Later, Mrs. Van Cleve writes a letter of protest to the boys, but just then receives an invitation to another gala, which she mixes up with her note and sends the invitation to the boys. They are elated at the invitation, figuring they will meet many wealthy people who will have many bathrooms that need fixing. Upon arrival at Mrs. Winthrop's, they steal a couple of suitcases and put on the tux and top hat they find. Mrs. Winthrop talks about a painting called 'The Plunger' that will be unveiled. Lou thinks she means a plumber's plunger, but Abbott clues him in that, in this context, it refers to a habitual gambler.

Now, a Mr. Drexel shows up, who loaned the boys some money to start their business. He wants them to help him steal the valuable painting, but they refuse. Drexel's accomplice, the chauffeur Marlow, uses knife throwing to try to scare the boys into helping them, but this fails. Mrs. Winthrop announces that the painting has disappeared. Mrs. Winthrop's daughter accuses the boys, along with Marian, of stealing it.(She's jealous of Kirby's attention to Marian). The boys see the two get into a car with a rolled up paper. They get on a nearby hook and ladder(?)and chase the two. They have quite an adventure, weaving through traffic, etc.. , before slamming into the Winthrop mansion, blowing out part of a wall. They deliver the painting, but......an unexpected ending. For me, this chase sequence is the funniest part of the film, along with their initial plumbing problems.

Much has been written about the Bagel Street scene, in which Lou asks various pedestrians for directions to Bagel Street, and the conversation soon turns to an unpleasant experience they had with the straw hats he is supposed to deliver, and they destroy the hat he is wearing....In another scene, they are dusting the furniture, apparently in a room, when the truck they are in moves off with the door open, causing the couch they are on to slide out the back, onto its wheels(?), and go flying down the inclined street.

In summary, an amusing film, with the usual A&C personas.
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7/10
A Weekend at Briarwood
lugonian7 May 2017
IN SOCIETY (Universal, 1944), directed by Jean Yarbrough, stars the popular comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in another one of their top comedies. Having been in movies since 1940, it would be a while before the team would tackle burlesque routines to certain background stories into such surefire comedy settings as in this case, high society. There's no Grace Kelly here to supply beauty and class but another blonde with the same mannerisms and singing style of Paramount's own, Betty Hutton, mainly because the down-to-earth style female co-star is played by Betty's real life sister, Marion, who's likable and pleasing personality, as with Betty, enlightens the film. With Bud and Lou crashing society, and how they do it results to a very funny story.

The narrative opens at a costume ball function hosted by Mrs. Van Cleave (Nella Walker). Her husband, Henry (Thurston Hall), returns home exhausted and would like nothing more than get a good night's sleep. After heading to his bedroom to retire for the night, there's a leak in the faucet that's keeping him awake. After going through the telephone directory, the butler (Charles Coleman) telephones for plumbers at the Ajax Plumbing Company, who, in turn happen to be non-other than Eddie Harrington (Bud Abbott) and his helper ("but no help") Albert Mansfield (Lou Costello). Accepting thejob at $4 an hour, the plumbers are driven to the lavish Long Island estate by Albert's love interest, Elsie Hammerdingle (Marion Hutton), a lady taxi driver working for the Baker Cab Company. Because the Van Cleave function happens to be a costume party, Elsie is mistaken for one of the guests, especially by Peter Evans (Kirby Grant), the richest bachelor who happens to arrive dressed as a taxi driver. In the meantime, the plumbers typically do more harm than good with the leak, causing Mrs. Van Cleave, the following morning, to write them a letter of complaint to them. However, she unwittingly places a weekend invitation to a charity function at the Briarwood estate in the envelope instead, where the hapless plumbers received and accept the invitation as good business relations for their company.  Also attending the Briarwood function are Peter and Elsie, much to the dismay of Gloria (Anne Gillis), Peter's jealous debutante girlfriend. With the weekend function hosted by Mrs. Roger Winthrop (Margaret Irving), she collects donations  for the upcoming unveiling of "The Plunger," a valuable painting worth $150,000. Also attending the function is Drezel (Thomas Gomez), a loan shark who earlier offered Eddie and Albert a $1,000 loan for their plumbing business, along with Marlowe (Murray Leonard), chauffeur for Mrs. Winthrop (and professional knife thrower), plotting to steal the valuable painting, and attempt to convince the plumbing stooges to assist them with their theft.

A fast-moving 75 minutes comedy loaded with worthwhile Abbott and Costello comedy material from start to finish. The most famous of their routines turns out to be "additional comedy material" credited to Sidney Fields (Landlord Mr. Fields from television's "The Abbott and Costello Show" (1952-1954)) for the one called "Bagle Street," where the plumbers try to deliver box full of hats for their friend at the Susquehanna Hat Company. There's also another routine borrowed from BUCK PRIVATES (1941), which changes Costello's situation from Army Sergeant to policeman (Edgar Dearing). Another classic routine involving Costello with Arthur Treacher (naturally playing the society butler named Biffs) is also priceless, as is Costello's take in the fox hunt. "Remarkable!" The scene involving Bud and Lou on a runaway sofa down the road is one that usually not included on New York City's WPIX, Channel 11, where IN SOCIETY and other Abbott and Costello comedies aired Sunday mornings from 1971 to 1990. Others in the cast include George Dolenz (Baron Sergel) and Steven Geray (Count Alexis), a couple of Briarwood guests whose suits and clothing get mixed with Bud and Lou's. Don Barclay is also amusing in his bit as the drowning drunk who gives Lou a hard time for saving him. If the climatic fire engine chase looks familiar, some of it was lifted from an earlier comedy classic starring WC Fields in NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK (Universal, 1941).

A reflection or movie comedies of the time, there's musical numbers to such tuneful melodies to help balance the story, including "No Doubt About It, I'm in Love With You" (sung by Marion Hutton); "Rehearsing" (sung by Anne Gillis, and the Three Sisters, Bea, Margie and Gerri by poolside, conducted by Will Osborne and his Orchestra); "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time" (sung by Marion Hutton); and "What a Change in the Weather" (sung by Kirby Grant to Marion Hutton on boat ride). With the exception of Kirby Grant's interlude, which is slow in tempo, all the other songs are lively, pleasant and somewhat memorable.

Last seen on cable television's American Movie Classics in 2001 (AMC premiere January 1, 2001, as part of Abbott and Costello's "Who's on the First" movie marathon), IN SOCIETY, distributed on video cassette in the 1990s and later DVD format, is no disappointment for many. The team is not only in fine form here, but supporting players handle their roles in the manner as they are played. Though Margaret Irving is quite good as the society hostess, it's a wonder had another Margaret that of Margaret Dumont, the famous dowager type of serve Marx Brothers comedies, might have made the movie even funnier. Be sure not to miss the finish! (**1/2 plungers)
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7/10
Re-used footage from a W.C. Fields movie Otherwise pretty good
mike4812825 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The famous "fire-truck" car-chase footage (exerpt) reused in 3 Universal movies shows up here, also in "Never give a Sucker an Even Break", and "Fireman, Save my Child". As "Society" plumbers they tear up the bathroom and it floats away. They are mistakenly sent another society invitation to a party instead of a complaint letter for destroying the plumbing. They "borrow" other guests' clothing and attend the affair. Lou undressing for the bath is a scream! Arthur Treacher plays "Pipps" the English butler. All too familiar material, even the stolen painting ("Animal Crackers") gag. Best enjoyed for "The Bagel St." and Susquehanna Hat Co." routine as everybody Lou asks for directions goes berserk and "pops" a straw hat. Only one (of four) songs is enjoyable: "No 'bout' a doubt it..." sung by (another) beautiful blonde. More action than later films. Tally Ho! The fox hunt is great fun, as Lou ends up "cuddling" with the fox.
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9/10
Society Mugs....
simeon_flake20 March 2016
This film definitely rates as one of Bud and Lou's best and the laughs kick off almost immediately as we see what I have to call a takeoff on "turn on the radio." This time around, it's "blow the horn" and an irate cop getting entangled with Lou.

Abbott and Costello do plumbing as well--if not better--than the Three Stooges. The biggest laughs though may come from the classic Susquehana Hat Company gag--a routine I became familiar with from watching their old TV show, but I have to say, it was probably funnier here.

Lou getting his bath drawn was another highlight. Of course, there are some of the drawbacks one would usually expect to see in an A & C feature--the staged singing numbers; although they don't grate on me as they do in some of their other features.

Overall--if you like Bud and Lou--"In Society" is a must see.

9 stars
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7/10
Bagel Street.
AaronCapenBanner27 October 2013
Abbott & Costello play two bumbling plumbers who are accidentally invited to a ritzy country club after being hired to do some emergency plumbing work by a wealthy man(and making a mess of things in the process). This gets them mistakenly invited to a ritzy country club, where they get into more trouble. Also there is woman taxi driver Elsie Hammerdingle(played by Marion Hutton) who begins a romance with a rich man, who doesn't know her true identity. Underrated comedy from the team has a most appealing performance from Miss Hutton, and some very funny moments: the best of which is the Bagel Street sketch, the single funniest scene I have ever seen in a film! Ending and some songs are weak, but otherwise most enjoyable.
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5/10
"What would a weekend be without a fox hunt?"
classicsoncall20 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
"In Society" presents Abbott and Costello as a pair of inept plumbers who manage to get themselves invited to an upper class weekend party, where they get to hob nob with the hoi polloi and solve a mystery in their usual frantic manner. There's some fairly standard fare here, including the Bagel Street/Susquehanna Hat routine, while the romantic chores are handled by future TV Sky King, Kirby Grant wooing the lovely Marion Hutton, who goes by the unlikely name of Elsie Hammerdingle. Her character is a female taxi driver, and along with the boys, rides out this comedy in a case of mistaken identity.

When an expensive painting depicting "The Plunger" winds up missing at the society affair, the boys become likely suspects when their plumber identities become known. The painting is recovered following a well choreographed chase scene in which Bud and Lou hop aboard a conveniently placed hook and ladder rig. There's some innovative stunt driving featuring a handful of near misses with oncoming traffic. When it's all over, the weekend hostess quite proudly proclaims - "You may be plumbers, but you're wonderful plumbers!"
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not watchable at all!
jcj32 January 2001
This movie is so disjointed no one seems to know why they are in it... except perhaps to recycle tired old vaudeville gags. With the movie's tenuous attempt to evidence any continuity, the viewer is confused and disappointed..... try Buck Privates, or Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, or better yet Hold That Ghost, if you really want a well made Abbott and Costello comedy.
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Visual set-pieces are performed with a great vivacity.
rgshanks20 November 2000
Made towards the end of their first contracted stint with Universal Studios, "In Society" is possibly the last eminently watchable Abbott and Costello feature until they initiated their horror spoofs with "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein", the picture which has probably survived the sands of time better than any of their others. In "In Society", the emphasis is very much on the physical and visual side of the pair's vaudevillian humour and there is little in the way of the verbal routines or snappy one-liners which are dotted around many of their other movies. But the visual set-pieces are performed with a great vivacity and enthusiasm for which Costello's apprenticeship as a stuntman in some pictures of the late twenties had prepared him well, and it is refreshing to find an unexpected but heart-warming tribute to W.C. Fields, including shots taken directly from the master's 1941 "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break".
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3/10
Low Society
Michael26 March 2008
A&C as plumbers - cue a 100-or-so cross-talk routines, trouble with pipes and a plethora of vulgar noises, before the duo somehow becomes embroiled in a high-society art theft. Naturally they save the day, but not without ruining the substantive part of it first.

This particular A&C film is often much funnier than most, but it nevertheless remains as unbearably noisy, frenetic and annoying as any similar 'Three Stooges' short spun out to feature-length would have been.

Rather more insultingly, a lot of the footage is lifted from WC Fields' 'Never Give A Sucker An Even Break'.
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