Comin' Round the Mountain (1951) Poster

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6/10
Bud&Lou Go a Feudin'
bkoganbing6 May 2006
The feud is on between the Wingfields and the McCoys when Bud Abbott discovers his clients, hopeless magician Lou Costello and the Park Avenue hillbilly Dorothy Shay are both McCoys and Costello's inherited concertina holds the secret to a treasure of hidden gold. So off they go to the Appalachins where Costello's arrival sets off the feud that had pretty much died down.

Bud and Lou get themselves a good supporting cast with a group of players used to rustic roles. I'm wondering how the folks at Universal missed getting Judy Canova and Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride in this film. Lou's best scene involves him haggling with a hag played by Margaret Hamilton in her wicked witch makeup over some love potion with each making a voodoo doll of the other to poke holes in.

Dorothy Shay was just about at the end of her peak of popularity which started post World War II. She was a singer with a warm contralto who decided to play up her southern roots. Dorothy made a whole lot of hillbilly ditties popular back in those days and her big hit song, Feudin' a Fussin' and a Fightin' was still selling good in 1951 when Comin' Round the Mountain came out. I have it and also a vinyl record of a Bing Crosby radio show where she sang that song as a trio number with herself, Bing, and Groucho Marx. She did what very few did in Abbott and Costello pictures, hold her own with the boys and not get lost in the supporting cast.

It's not the best of their films, but still enjoyable and just wait till you see the treasure that they do find.
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6/10
Wacky Abbott & Costello comedy spoof of backwoods feuds.
mark.waltz28 September 2001
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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Feuden' Fools
lugonian13 March 2012
COMIN' ROUND THE MOUNTAIN (Universal-International, 1951), directed by Charles Lamont, stars the comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in another one of their funny outings. Having already appeared in an earlier hillbilly romp titled THE WISTFUL WIDOW OF WAGON GAP (1947) where the strong presence of Marjorie Main assumed the title role, their second and final venture in them thar hills places them in the middle of a hillbilly feud. Dorothy Shay, introduced in the opening credits as "The Park Avenue Hillbilly" makes her first screen appearance here, and last, though it didn't hurt her chances for the duration of her career as both night club and television entertainer.

The fun begins at New York's Club Chez Bleu where Al Stewart (Bud Abbott), a theatrical agent, introduces two of his latest discoveries, Dorothy McCoy (Dorothy Shay), and The Great Wilbert (Lou Costello), an escape artist. While Dorothy's singing style proves popular with the patrons, Wilbert is not so lucky with his Harry Houdini act, unable to break free after being padlocked in chains. A mishap not only sets him free but he and the others fired by the boss. As a mouse has Wilbert belting out a distress yell only known by Dorothy's family back home, she learns Wilbert to be both kin folk and grandson of the late "Squeeze Box" McCoy, leader of the Kentucky clan. With his grand-pappy's photo and concertina proving him to be the sole heir to a fortune, Wilbert and Dorothy venture back to the hills, with Al tagging along for his ten percent commission, to claim the fortune of gold with whereabouts known only by Grandma McCoy (Ida Moore). During the course of the story, the trio find themselves in one misadventure after another, ranging from being caught in the middle of a long running feud between the Winfields and the McCoys, to a turkey shoot at the county fair, and finally a love potion leading to mismatched partnerships. While being constantly menaced by Devil Dan (Glenn Strange), Wilbert tricks a young hillbilly gal named Matt (Shaye Cogan) into giving both he and Al the treasure map to the Lost Springs Mine, which turns out to be in Winfield territory.

Often dismissed as a lesser Abbott and Costello comedy, COMIN' ROUND THE MOUNTAIN is redeemed by Costello's magic show performance; the presence of Margaret Hamilton as the bewitching old hag who sticks Costello for the money owed her for love potion jug by holding a voodoo doll looking very much like Wilbert; and Glenn Strange (The Monster in ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN) playing the nitwit menace constantly yelling out Wilbert's name in a strong hoarse voice which, on a personal level, gets funnier each time he does it; and the climatic chase leading to the buried treasure. Hamilton, best known in her long screen career as the Wicked Witch of the West in THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939), is somewhat of a Hollywood in-joke here. Her role leaves one guessing (Wilbert, too) whether she's a witch or not. Her few minutes of glory with Bud and Lou, especially Lou, makes up for the weakness in the story. This witch-voodoo sequence is clipped as one of the highlights to the documentary titled THE WORLD OF ABBOTT AND COSTELLO (1965), with the narration of Jack E. Leonard that can be a bit annoying. Among the many classic Abbott and Costello exchanges, the "You're forty, she's ten" routine where Wilbert finds himself engaged to a teenage mountain girl sure fits the bill.

Setbacks for many happen are the handful of songs interludes provided by Dorothy Shay, including "Agnes Wink," "Why Doesn't Someone Marry Mary Ann," "Sagebrush Sadie," "You Broke Your Promise" (actually the film's best song) and "Another Noth on Father's Shotgun." Also in the cast are Kirby Grant in straw hat playing Clark Winfield; Joseph Sawyer as Kalem, leader of the clan; Guy Wilkerson as the long bearded Uncle Clem McCoy; and Virgil Taylor as the dim-witted Jasper Winfield. Ida Moore makes an ideal Granny (don't ever call her an "old woman"), a forerunner to Irene Ryan's characterization in the popular TV series of "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1962-1971).

Aside the fact that the title had been used previously in a 1936 Gene Autry western for Republic Pictures and again for a 1940 Paramount comedy starring Bob Burns and Una Merkel, that featured for the first time radio's Harold Peary as The Great Gildersleeve, COMIN' ROUND THE MOUNTAIN starring Abbott and Costello remains the better known of the three. As much as hillbilly comedies where mountain people caricatures with silly developments being a matter of taste, COMIN' ROUND THE MOUNTAIN is good enough to be seen and believed either on VHS or DVD format.(**)
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6/10
A Few Highlights Here, just not enough for the Boys
DKosty1236 March 2005
There is too little of prime Abbott & Costello in this but there is some crackling dialog when they arrive in Kentucky and Abbott says to Costello "Smell that Kentucky Bluegrass.." Costellos retort to this is by far the best dialog in the film.

The section with Margaret Hamilton is corny but well done. While not their best work, these highlights make it worth viewing. It does not sink as far as Africa Screams, & the music in it is almost as obtrusive as some of their early military comedies. At least Costello clowns around with some corny instruments in some of the jug-band sequences.

I do think it is far from their worst film. If the plot was more centered on the family feud & less on insane romances, it would work a lot better.
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7/10
At last, Abbott and Costello manage to make a movie that is both funny and creepy!
MartinHafer22 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I almost feel ashamed of myself to admit that I liked this ultra-lowbrow comedy starring Abbott and Costello. The humor sure isn't sophisticated and the film almost made me cringe at times, but I did enjoy it. Perhaps I am losing my mind.

The film begins with Dorothy Shay singing some hillbilly-type songs. What made this weird is that this was in a fancy club in the big city and her accompaniment was a normal orchestra. As for the songs, she sang way too often in this film but I was also surprised that I actually did like most of the songs, as the lyrics were very funny. But, a little sure went a long way! Shay soon learns that Lou is her long lost cousin. Lou had no idea that he was from hillbilly stock and agrees to accompany her to Kentucky to meet all the kinfolk he didn't know he had. Unfortunately, he walks into the middle of a century-old feud as well! What comes next is pretty much every stereotype of hill people you can imagine--pigs in the bedroom, marryin' 12-14 year-olds, shootin', chawin', drinkin' and whatnot. While I did laugh at some of the antics, I also realized that there are some folks out there that cringe at this sort of thing--especially people in the Appalaccian region of the United States (like my in-laws!). Funny...but also very tacky and like the worst and most stereotypical episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies".

Additionally, some of these stereotypes got very, very creepy. Lou's new kin think he should be married and some of them want him to marry his cousin who is practically an old maid--"she's pert near 14!!". The idea of this middle-aged man with a young teenager is just nasty. The only things that save this is that the girl sure doesn't look like she's 13--she could pass for twice that. The other thing in its favor is that this relationship is never consummated. Ewwwww!! However, despite these shortcomings, the whole movie is goofy fun and it tries really hard to entertain. Plus, for once, it's nice to see Bud and Lou completely out of their element and doing something different. Not a great film but certainly one worth seeing--especially for the funny surprise ending.
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Worse then Africa Screams
solongsuckers11 August 2003
In my rewatching of the Abbott and Costello series that I loved in my youth, this is by far the worst of the series that I have rewatched. The problem is not in the subject material. The problem is in the script, the execution and the performances. Abbott and Costello have never been more bland and the songs from the Manhatten Hillbilly take up seemingly half of the movie's length. The song about a half an hour in goes on forever. The old granny is fun but isn't allowed to do enough. The "courtship" between Costello and the 14 year old hillbilly girl is ghoulish. Bud Abbott is non-existent and the hillbilly clans do nothing whatsoever. There are a few chuckles and nothing more. The opener and the conclusion are awful. On the bright side, Glenn Strange is great here and Costello's duel with the witch is funny. Costello's "christening" is a gut buster. But that's it. Has a little of the same flavor as The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap but isn't in the same league, much less the same ballpark.
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9/10
A&C visit feudin' and fightin' hillbillies, searching for a kinfolk's treasure.
weezeralfalfa16 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
With its 5 hillbilly songs sung by Dorothy Shay, this is definitely a musical comedy in the mold of "Buck Privates", rather than a straight comedy. Dorothy made an early career out of singing hillbilly songs in urban settings. This was her only movie, where she held her own as an actress. True, about every stereotypical aspect of Appalachian mountain folk is played up. I think that's good for a comedy about these people. In contrast to most reviewers, I found this adequately humorous for a A&C comedy, especially for kids, as usual. I do agree that about 3 songs, rather than 5, would have been better. I did find the lyrics unusually good.

The boys begin as an inept magic show, following Dorothy's singing. Dorothy was raised as a backwoods McCoy, and figures out that Lou's grandfather was 'Squeeze-box' McCoy, who left a fortune in gold in a secret place. She suggests she accompany A&C to their community and try to find out more information about where this treasure might be found. Lou puts on his skunkskin cap and the 3 arrive at the family settlement. Turns out the McCoys sometimes have arguments or physical contests with the neighbor Winfields.

At the carnival, Lou gets a facefull of blackberry pie, then a facefull of mustard that squirted out of a hotdog bun. He finds out that Matt, a 14y.o. girl, often treated like a boy, has a crush on him.

The crazy McCoys choose Lou to represent them at the annual turkey shoot, Lou never having fired a gun. Matt fires from behind a tree next to Lou at the same time he fires. Her multiple shots hit the target, severing the tree and causing it to catch fire. Lou's declared the winner: the first time in 30 years a McCoy has outshot a Winfield.

Granny doesn't take kindly to people referring to her as 'an old lady'. She takes out her revolver and shoots the pipe out of their mouth or whatever. This becomes a running gag.

Granny says it's time for Lou to marry. He chooses Dorothy, but she prefers Clark Winfield. Besides, Granny says he doesn't get to choose a wife. The family as a whole chooses one for him. They chose Matt, who is agreeable. But Lou doesn't think she is appropriate. The boys do their routine where Abbott supposes there is a 40y.o. man in love with a 10y.o. girl, Should he wait until she's 30 and he's 60 before marrying her? He'd only be twice her age then, etc.. This routine was previously done in "Buck Privates".

Granny suggests Lou go to see reclusive Aunt Huddy(Margaret Hamilton) about making up a love potion to give to Dorothy to make her change her mind about Lou. Huddy looks like a witchy old hag, rather similar to Margaret's getup for "The Wizard of Oz". She makes a voodoo doll in the likeness of Lou, and he reciprocates. They stab the doll in the derriere, and feel it in their buttocks. Lou finds Huddy's magic broom, which even has a windshield wiper on it! He gets on , presses one area, and zooms out the window into a tree. Meanwhile, Huddy does make the desired potion. Lou tricks Dorothy into taking some, and she immediately gets romantic with Lou. Unfortunately, it soon wears off. Lou takes some and gets romantic with Matt, then Matt takes some and gets romantic with Abbott!

Eventually, a double wedding is arranged, with Dorothy marrying Clark, and Matt marrying Lou. However, there is still some lingering uncertainty about the desired pairings. A Winfield discovers that a Winfield is about to marry a McCoy, and gets riled up. In the commotion, the buggy Dorothy and Clark are in takes off with them still unmarried. Devil Dan Winfield goes after the boys. Lou says if he kills them he will get 'the chair'. Just then, Matt hits him over the head and back with a chair. A bullet knocks a hole in the jug of potion above Devil Dan's head, and drips on his face. He tastes some of it and gets friendly with Lou. Devil Dan agrees to take them to the mine where Matt says the treasure is hidden, having overheard granny.

Some other Winfields show up at the mine, so the boys get on one of the counterbalanced lifts and descend. The Winfields get on the other lift, and the boys go up while they go down. The boys put some heavy rocks on their lift, then tell the Winfields to get off their lift. As a result, they rocket down with such force that they go through the bottom of the floor, and guess what they find. I will let you see the last bit.

There, doesn't it sound like much more than just the witch scene, which many reviewers overemphasized?
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Lesser Abbott and Costello
Michael_Elliott17 August 2015
Comin' Round the Mountain (1951)

** (out of 4)

Wilbert Smith (Lou Costello) meets a female country singer (Dorothy Shay) and soon realizes that he's a long lost relative to a famous redneck in Kentucky who rumor has it has a buried treasure. Their agent Al Stewart (Bud Abbott) decides they should all go back to the sticks to get the money but soon a bloody rivalry starts back up.

Abbott and Costello made several Western spoofs including the highly entertaining THE WISFUL WIDOW OF WAGON GAP but sadly this film isn't in the same league and on the whole it ranks near the bottom of the duo's films. That's not to say this is an awful movie because it isn't. There are several funny moments scattered throughout the film but there's just not enough to keep it fully entertaining and the musical numbers are all rather bland.

In fact, why on Earth would you start your movie off with Shay singing? This was an Abbott and Costello movie yet they open with Shay and then we get the duo doing a small gag before going back to the singer. I'm really not sure if they were just trying to force Shay into some sort of stardom but her songs here are rather lame and, to be honest, the skit from the boys isn't all that funny. There are a few funny moments scattered throughout but the highlight is the math game of a 40-year-old man falling in love with a 10-year-old girl and needing her age to catch up with his.

Both Abbott and Costello are in good form here but I think even they realized that the material wasn't all that great. Shay delivers a decent performance but the songs are forgettable. Joe Sawyer adds some nice support as does Glenn Strange and Margaret Hamilton steals the film in her sequence as a witch. Her and Costello's voodoo match being another highlight of the picture. COMIN' ROUND THE MOUNTAIN isn't one of the boy's best pictures but fans will still find a little humor in it.
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5/10
Mildly amusing at best, creepy at worst
gridoon25 March 2007
In "Comin' Round the Mountain" a 14-year-old girl (actually the actress who plays her looks about 25, but that's beside the point) has the hots for Lou Costello, and after they both drink a love potion Lou falls in love with her and she gets the hots for Bud Abbott! At another point Lou says "You can't marry a 10-year-old girl...unless you come from these hills". And I thought these films were supposed to be clean, wholesome entertainment!

The comedy never gets beyond the mildly amusing, the portrayal of the "country hicks" is totally stereotypical, and although Dorothy Shay is quite beautiful, her singing takes up too much screen time. The ending (which I won't spoil here) is by far the cleverest part - it has the kind of absurdist inspiration that the film needed more of. (**)
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Weak A&C with Too Much Singing
utgard1420 February 2014
Right off the bat I knew this wouldn't be one of Abbott and Costello's better comedies because the movie starts off with Dorothy Shay singing a novelty song that goes on forever. It wouldn't be the last time either. Shay has four or five songs in this movie! Who's the star here? I watch an Abbott and Costello movie for comedy, not forgettable songs. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a song here or there. But this was too much. It felt like they were more concerned with providing a showcase for Shay than worrying about making a good comedy.

The plot centers on Lou discovering he's related to Dorothy. So Kentucky native Shay accompanies the boys to her home. From here, we get a lot of jokes about hillbillies, feuds, and marrying 14 year-old cousins. I don't mind laughing at these types of jokes when they're clever, but this is all pretty tired. Even the presence of Margaret Hamilton can't save it, although that's the best scene.

Let me say that, while I didn't care much for her songs, Shay does have a likable quality about her and she's a perfectly fine singer. She's not bad to look at, either. Just wish there had been less of her singing her corny songs and more focus on comedy. I don't think I laughed more than once and that was during Hamilton's scene. The whole thing plays like one overlong cartoon. I don't know if it's the worst Abbott and Costello movie, but it's one of them.
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3/10
Not Coming Around
AaronCapenBanner27 October 2013
Abbott & Costello play Al Stewart & Wilbert Smith, who are a theatrical agent and his new discovery, Wilbert the escape artist, who proves to be a bust, but another discovery, a singer named Dorothy McCoy(played by Dorothy Shay) is more successful, though discovers that Wilbert is a relation, so convinces him to go back with her to Kentucky to prove it. Al tags along, and they learn of a legendary gold mine that could make them all rich(if they can find it). Of course, there is a family feud with the neighboring Winfields, which endangers their lives, with romantic entanglements for all. Sorry excuse for a comedy has bad songs and cringe-worthy humor, though the sequence with Margaret Hamilton as a witch matching voodoo doll skills with Wilbert is both amusing and scary,providing the film's only highlight, and saving it from total decay.
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