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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.
*** This review may contain 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.
This is another film starring the remarkable comedy team of Bud Abbott
and Lou Costello that I saw about a few years ago, and when I saw this,
I really loved it! Perhaps because it is in their early years, and in
their early years, they made some of their best movies! This movie is
one of the best of the Perfect Straight Man and the Perfect Buffoon!
And as with a lot of Abbott and Costello's movies, I own this on DVD as
part of the best of Abbott and Costello, Vol. 2, and so I can watch and
enjoy it anytime that I may very well please!
In my opinion, I do not know were I would be with out Abbott and Costello, i just don't think that my life would have been the same if I wasn't introduced to Bud and Lou, but I am really glad that I was, because I really love them, they are the greatest of them all! Even in their later years, they still made some good movies, I have seen some of their movies that I really like better than others, but I can't say that I have seen one that I have hated.
If you really want to see Abbott and Costello in a very huge hysterical riot, then you will probably want to watch this movie, it is a hysterical riot, at least I really thought so! If you really are a huge fan of Bud and Lou like I am, then you will really be laughing your head off at this movie!
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 ****
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.
"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. (**)
*** This review may contain 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.
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.
*** This review may contain 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!"
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
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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