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Poor Red Jones gets fired from every job he tries. His fiancée gives him one last chance to make good when he becomes a Fuller Brush man. His awkward attempts at sales are further complicated when one of his customers is murdered and he becomes the prime suspect. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
The opening scenes of "The Fuller Brush Man" are hardly promising: Red Skelton, playing a ne'er-do-well who can't hold a job, hopes to impress his lady-love with his skills as a door-to-door salesman, not knowing that he's been sent to the worst neighborhood in town by his adversary, his gal's other boyfriend. Seeing charming Skelton (with his happy chatter and lilting walk) being set-up as a chump is awfully sour, and the slapstick chaos which ensues isn't funny as a result. Thankfully, writer Frank Tashlin quickly gets off this baleful track, turning the proceedings instead into a comedic murder mystery, with Red one of the suspects in the killing of his former boss. The new plot thread--while neither original nor ingenious--does allow Skelton lots of funny business as an actor, with Janet Blair the perfect counterpart to Red's unintentional hero. The wild, free-for-all finale in a warehouse has staging and stunt-work as good as anything from the silent era, if not better. No wonder this was a box-office smash in 1948--it leaves the audience with a succession of happy highs. Followed two years later by "The Fuller Brush Girl". *** from ****
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