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Behave Yourself!
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Reviews & Ratings for
Behave Yourself! More at IMDbPro »

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Archie

6/10
Author: Maharis from San Francisco
24 January 2005

I was actually surprised at how funny this comedy was--I guess I wasn't expecting much. Still, I laughed out loud several times. Shelly Winters proves grating at times with her one-note performance, but Farley Granger (looking as sexy as ever)proves to be extremely good at comedy. However, the single best performance in this movie is given by Archie, the dog, who is crucial to the plot. And he's not even listed in the credits on this website! (I actually looked the movie up on IMDb just because I wanted to see if Archie was in other films. And I've never, ever done that for a DOG before.) Elisha Cook Jr. is very welcome in a cameo role, but is not given nearly enough to do.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A dog gone silly comedy that should have been much better

5/10
Author: krorie from Van Buren, Arkansas
12 August 2005

What talent, Shelley Winters, Farley Granger, William Demarest, Lon Chaney, Jr., Hans Conried, Elisha Cook, Jr., Allen Jenkins, Sheldon Leonard, Francis L. Sullivan, King Donovan. What an idea for a funny movie, having a stray dog get a newly married couple who have to live with the wife's obnoxious mother into all kinds of murder and intrigue. What a talented dog, Archie, right up there with Asta. What fine cinematography by James Wong Howe highlighting Wilshire Blvd in the early 1950's. Then what went wrong? One thing is a lack of comedy timing by Farley Granger who even overacts at time. Apparently he was using Jerry Lewis as his model, but was unable to come close to Jerry Lewis' élan. Other weaknesses involve the script and direction, by the same person, George Beck. In more capable hands Farley Granger could have been restrained and, given his acting ability, could have turned in a good comic performance. The script? With some revision it could have been a winner. As is, the best performances are by Elisha Cook, Jr., Hans Conried, and Shelley Winters, with the standout being by an uncredited canine who must have had a gifted trainer. This comedy is worth seeing if you don't expect too much.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Local citizen O'Danny rounds up international gang and hits reward jackpot

7/10
Author: Cristi_Ciopron from CGSM, Soseaua Nationala 49
12 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A young husband's plans of conjugal love are constantly discouraged by various facts—like the appearance and pranks of a Welsh terrier. His access to his pretty wife is severely restricted by adverse circumstances. BEHAVE YOURSELF belongs to a hybrid genre, the 'crime and conjugal comedy'. The crime plot is convoluted enough to be a sequel to the MALTESE FALCON. Young Farley was the consummate opposite of Bogart; neurotic, coward, etc., in fact a man who loved peace and his wife.

The couple of youngsters who hold the stage in the old fashioned macabre comedy BEHAVE YOURSELF was, at least partly, well chosen. Farley Granger and Shelley Winters are the young couple caught between rival gangs who sought to eliminate each other. She's not exactly Eve Marie Saint, he's not exactly Lemmon, but she played in NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, he was a Hitchcock actor …, which kind of qualifies them for such a tenebrous comedy where the underworld and the bourgeois meet; none of them made it to the first ranks of the stardom.

By the time BEHAVE YOURSELF was made, Granger (--who had already appeared in both those Hitchcock movies--) and Winters were very good friends, they went together to New York and took classes at the Actors Studio; they became lovers, he had affairs with Ava and with Marais, she had an affair with Gassman, and were later reunited for another movie.

By the time they made BEHAVE YOURSELF, Granger's career was practically over; Shelley still had a future. Granger shone only on Hitchcock's sets; Shelley had yet to give her important roles and had a career ahead.

It can be said that Farley overacts a bit and that, while full of the youth's charm, he wasn't, because of his more introspective and neurotic nature, put by Hitchcock to good use, exactly fit for the snappy style of such a mordant comedy.

Elisha Cook Jr., Lon Chaney do the respective stock characters.

There's also a cute, naughty Welsh terrier.

BEHAVE YOURSELF is, stylistically, quite exciting and accomplished; the comedies of the early '50s often reached this level of nonchalant charm. Lemmon did a couple of those.

Funny, nonsensical and lively, with an admirable pace, BEHAVE YOURSELF has gusto and brio, the plot is absurdly Maltese, and Shelley seems better than Granger who, as I said, sometimes loads his performance with overacting. If taken for what it is—an unpretentious small comedy about a family's meeting with the underworld—BEHAVE YOURSELF proves enjoyable.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

The dog has it.

8/10
Author: jcholguin (jcholguin@lycos.com) from los angeles
29 May 2001

A little dog turns out to be the most interesting feature of this film. This dog is the only lead for the "gangland buyers of the counterfeit money" to find the counterfeiters on Wilshire Blvd. Archie "the dog" has other plans and adopts Farley Granger and Shelley Winters as his family. Now the scramble by the gangsters to find the dog intensifies. Murder seems to follow this "pooch" and brings Granger to the center of all the mayhem. An amusing dog tale which ends answering the question "what if man bites dog."

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Behavior issues

Author: jarrodmcdonald-1 from United States
1 March 2014

Farley Granger and Shelley Winters form an unlikely couple in this screwball caper. The script was supposedly written in four days, and quite frankly, it shows. But there are some genuinely uproarious events, most of them involving William Demarest as a homicide chief. Hans Conreid appears in a heavy British accent, but he isn't nearly as funny as Demarest, though he certainly tries to be.

In fact, they all try to be funny in this offering from RKO, perhaps a bit too much. The energy, though, is good, and there is an adorable pooch named Archie whose presence is central to the plot. Near the end of the film, Granger bites Archie in an attempt to elicit laughs, proving there is such a thing as bad taste in movies. Obviously, Granger's character does not see the value in behaving himself.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Archie's a Hot Dog

5/10
Author: wes-connors from Los Angeles
2 July 2010

"Young newlyweds Bill and Kate Denny (Farley Granger and Shelley Winters) take in a stray dog named Archie. Archie is really a trained dog that is a go-between for two rival gangs of criminals. With a million-dollar counterfeiting scheme causing hostilities between the two gangs, our newlyweds and their adopted dog are thrown into the middle of the mix," according to the DVD sleeve summary. The more dramatically inclined co-stars have a lot of range, but it doesn't show in "Behave Yourself!" Most of the time, they seem out of their element. Made a few years earlier, with Cary Grant and Lucille Ball starring, this might have been a classic.

***** Behave Yourself! (9/19/51) George Beck ~ Farley Granger, Shelley Winters, Margalo Gillmore, William Demarest

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

An enjoyable comic farce

6/10
Author: ackstasis from Australia
7 February 2008

Channel 31 is not a television station typically known for its quality programming, but, after first introducing me to 'His Girl Friday (1940)' some time last year, it can now add a second commendable achievement to its résumé. I'd just emerged from my bedroom in the morning when my father clicked over to the neglected station, and a vaguely familiar face {whom I would later identify as Farley Granger} was being troubled by an adorable little Welsh terrier named Archie. If I'd known that it was a movie I probably would not have continued watching, but, as fate would have it, I thought it was an ancient television comedy series, and so I figured it'd all be over in half an hour. Needless to say, by the time the thirty minute mark came and went, I was too engrossed in the amusing story that was unfolding, and 'Behave Yourself! (1951)' proved to be quite an enjoyable viewing experience.

Unfortunately, in rising from bed a few minutes too late, I had missed the opening few scenes of the film, and so it took me a while to piece together the various puzzle pieces of the plot. William Calhoun "Bill" Denny (Granger) is a clumsy husband who is followed home one day by an intelligent dog, which is mistaken for an anniversary present by his wife, Kate (Shelley Winters). Meanwhile, for reasons I never really worked out, a cohort of gangsters are attempting to retrieve the dog, which somehow holds the key towards $100,000 in counterfeit banknotes. As Bill tries everything he can to return the dog to its original owner, he also finds that he has about the worst luck in the world, continuing to arrive at apartments just minutes after somebody has been murdered in there. The gangster comedy notably boasts an assortment of familiar faces, including Lon Chaney Jr. and Elisha Cook Jr., both playing characteristically-shady characters.

Though undoubtedly lightweight, 'Behave Yourself!' is an enjoyable comedic twist on the gangster genre, with Farley Granger doing a surprisingly good job as the leading klutz. The film is full of small amusing details, such as the icily-sarcastic remarks of Bill's mother-in-law (Margalo Gillmore), the chief detective repeatedly referring to Bill as "O'Denny," and the continual confusion as to who the hell this Archie character is. Of course, it's the young canine performer who really steals the show, demonstrating an assortment of clever tricks and flawless comedic timing, in the same way that Asta dominated the 'Thin Man' films. Though it's not very well known, George Beck's comedy is presumably in the public domain, and so shouldn't be all that hard to find. If you're ever in the mood for something silly and entertaining, this one is a good bet.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Bad at the core

4/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
2 July 2015

One of the best supporting casts of familiar character players this side of a Frank Capra film is the best thing that Behave Yourself has going for it. When any of them are on the screen they make up for the fact that leads Farley Granger and Shelley Winters have absolutely no chemistry between them.

Behave Yourself finds Farley Granger getting adopted by Welsh terrier named Archie who follows him home. The dog has been trained as a courier among groups of gangsters, but he decides he likes Mr. Average Guy Granger instead. When he gets home the wife thinks that the terrier is an anniversary present. But now all kinds of strange and sinister people are contacting Granger about the dog. The police have taken an interest in him as well.

Any film that has Francis L. Sullivan, Sheldon Leonard, Hans Conreid, Marvin Kaplan, Lon Chaney, Jr., Elisha Cook, Jr., William Demarest, Margalo Gilmore, etc. is worth a look. But the core of the film, the leads just aren't up to the light touch this comedy needs.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Second Half Goes Off The Rails

4/10
Author: dougdoepke from Claremont, USA
26 June 2016

The plot's something about a go-between dog that gets lost from its two smuggler gangs and finds a home, sort of, with a young couple.

Granger strives mightily to put the mad in madcap, but unfortunately it's too mightily. His incessant mugging in the latter half not only gets tiresome but amounts to unfunny desperation. Actually, the real problem with this misfire--as others point out--lies with director-writer Beck. In short, the screenplay is much too congested, probably to insert the many first-rate supporting players who could have provided real laughs if properly directed and defined. Instead, the likes of Leonard, Conreid, Cook, Jenkins, are largely wasted by a turgid screenplay. Only grouchy Demarest and sarcastic Gillmore manage to register. Winters' comedic talents are also largely wasted as the neglected wife, a role a hundred lesser actresses could have filled.

Looks like the producers were intent on promoting Granger's career since he monopolizes the screen time. Looks also like he was trying to expand his range into comedy. Too bad the package doesn't work. At the same time, judging by his credits, the actor quickly returned to drama, and being the bobby-sox idol he was so good at. Anyway, I hope they gave Archie triple treats for his lively tail-wagging turn. He may not be a glamorous Lassie, but he'll sure do.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

**

4/10
Author: edwagreen from United States
7 April 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Imagine Marvin Kaplan playing a gangster in film?

This was absolutely an inane farce with Farley Granger and Shelley Winters. In the same year that she made the memorable "A Place in the Sun," Shelley got herself into this one mess of a film.

The mother-in-law steals the film as she conveys what the traditional mother-in-law is supposed to convey- constant criticism of the in-law and non-stop trouble.

In a ridiculous fashion, Granger gets caught up with counterfeiters when he accidentally comes upon the dog they need to make their counterfeit transaction. Winters is his wife and William Demarest is the wily head of the police bureau.

No matter where the gullible Granger goes, murder seems to follow. In fact, this is just what this mess of a movie is-just murder to view.

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