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Margaret Hamilton was already famous for playing a witch in her legendary role as "The Wicked Witch of the West" in the movie " The Wizard of Oz (1939)" and was ranked #4 on the American Film Institute's villain's list of the 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains. See more »
Wacky Abbott & Costello comedy spoof of backwoods feuds.
The Hatfield/McCoy feud is legendary in history, and films have either spoofed it or filmed it seriously. There was the Wheeler and Woolsey comedy "Kentucky Kernels" in 1934, and then the Rod Steiger/Lee Marvin film of 1974. In between was this Abbott and Costello comedy which is not as well known as some of their other vehicles, but is definately worth a look.
The opening of the film shows Lou as an untalented magician trying (rather unsuccessully) to do a Houdini routine. With his manager Bud,
Lou meets a distant cousin (singer Dorothy Shay) who recognizes Lou's yell as a hereditary trait of the McCoy clan. Taking Bud and Lou into the backwoods (presumably Kentucky or nearby), the trio encounters their family (lead by character actress Ida Moore). The McCoys have been feuding for years with the local Winfield family. Granny Moore wants Lou to marry Shay, who already has a beau (Kirby Grant). Bud and Lou then go to visit a local mountain witch (Margaret Hamilton, the witch from "The Wizard of Oz") who gives them a love potion after a hysterical sequence where Costello and Hamilton make clay voodoo dolls of each other, and continuously poke them with pins. Hamilton, made up to look more like a hag than a witch, is hysterical in her five minutes on screen. She shrieks and laughs, giving no doubt that underneath that ugly makeup is the wicked witch of the west. This leads to a hysterical conclusion where the potion ends up in all the wrong glasses.
"Comin' Round the Mountain" came towards the end of the team's successful years; they were slowly being replaced by the younger Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, but were still giving it their all. There are few of the plot-diverting routines of their earlier films, making this faster moving and more entertaining than some of their other films. As usual (with the exception of Hamilton and Ida Moore), the supporting cast is upstaged by the boys. Dorothy Shay isn't all bad, but lacks the screen presence of some of the female comics they worked with in their earlier films.
Available on video (but one I have not found easily for rent), "Comin' Round the Mountain" may be pure corn, but its a great time filler for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
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