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Buzz and Abercrombie are agents trying to get Jeff Parker the lead in a movie musical. Routines include Lou's insomnia and his being unable to hear Bud due to his wearing an earplug. Lots of movie studio stuff. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO IN Hollywood (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1945), directed by S. Sylvan Simon, returns the dynamic dual to MGM for the third and final time, following RIO RITA (1942) and LOST IN A HAREM (1944). On loan once more from Universal, and the first of many to include their names in the title, though they don't actually play themselves, it would be a matter of time before Bud and Lou would use a movie studio as part of their comedy backdrop.
Set in Hollywood, the movie capital of the world, at Mammoth Studios, "Buzz" Kurtis (Bud Abbott) and his pal, Abercrombie (Lou Costello), are introduced as employees at the Hollywood Shop, "Barber to the Stars," with Ruthie (Jean Porter), Abercrombie's girlfriend and roommate of their closest friend, Claire Warren (Frances Rafferty), taking reservations over the telephone. Buzz is shown earning extra money for barber school, with Abercrombie as his only student for a four year course. Claire, a former manicurist, has been auditioned to appear opposite singer, Gregory LeMaise (Carlton G. Young) in his latest musical, "Romance for Two." Because she refuses to work alone with him during rehearsals, LeMaise chooses not to appear in the film. Seeing how movie agent Norman Royce (Warner Anderson) makes fast money finding actors jobs, Buzz and Abercrombie try their luck as agents themselves, selecting Jeff Parker (Robert Stanton), a former banker from Des Moines, Iowa, with a talent for singing, as their first client. When Parker gets the part working opposite Claire in the upcoming production, LeMaise, fearing he'll lose his star power over a newcomer, does his best to discourage him while attempting to retain the role and Claire for himself. Things don't go as planned with the barbers turned agents wise to his diabolical plot.
Other members of the cast are Donald MacBride (Dennis Kavanaugh, the movie director); Mike Mazurki ("Klondike Pete"); Marion Martin (Miss Malbane); along with guest stars as Lucille Ball and Preston Foster; and director Robert Z. Leonard. New songs by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin include: "As I Remember You" (sung by Robert Stanton); "I Hope the Band Keeps Playing" (a Ciro's Night Club sequence sung by The Lyttle Sisters and Robert Stanton); and "Fun on the Midway" (sung by cast). As much as the crooning might or could have been played by the up and coming Frank Sinatra, Stanton did well in the singing department, but failed to acquire the legendary status of Sinatra or a Dick Haymes.
Although not quite in the same league as the Abbott and Costello comedies produced at Universal, thanks to some really excellent material, and some repeats from their previous efforts, ... IN Hollywood is an exceedingly funny comedy. While comedy exchanges and/or routines are typically expected to be performed Bud and Lou, interestingly, there are those where Costello shares gag material with others in the cast, namely "Rags" Ragland as his first customer in the barber chair, or should I say victim; Lou making suggestions to director Robert Z. Leonard on the set that includes Lucille Ball and Preston Foster; the "Little Red Riding Hood" story Costello tells to child actors in the studio classroom, with Jackie "Butch" Jenkins and Sharon McManus hilariously interrupting him with questions; and a wild ride effectively staged during a chase between Lou and Carleton G. Young on a roller coaster being one of the true highlights. The shared material between Bud and Lou comes during its opening where Bud teaches Lou how to razor shave off lather from a facial painted balloon without popping it; another where Bud disguises himself as a studio guard to help his pal while being chased by actual studio guards. Abbott's byplay using earplugs to help his partner sleep along with record playing to "Sleeping With Doctor Snide" is classic, classic enough to be clipped in for THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT, PART II (1976). Oddly enough, Abbott disappears before the insomnia segment comes to a close. Where did he go?
Going back to 1930 when silent comedian Buster Keaton made his motion picture talking debut in FREE AND EASY (MGM) set mostly inside the movie studio, ... IN Hollywood could have been its remake of updated material for Abbott and Costello. Fortunately, unlike the Keaton carnation with songs, chases and an offbeat conclusion, ... IN Hollywood, is full-fledge comedy with song interludes in the MGM tradition, but with enough gags to go around for 84 minutes. Being one of the earliest Abbott and Costello comedies to be distributed to home video in the 1980s, IN Hollywood, also available on DVD with LOST IN THE HAREM on the flip-side. ... IN Hollywood shouldn't be a disappointment for any avid Abbott and Costello fan, especially when it broadcast from time to tome on the Turner Classic Movies cable channel. ...IN Hollywood shouldn't disappoint any avid Abbott and Costello fan. (**1/2)
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