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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This one is one of my favorite and most memorable Bowery Boys Movies, when I saw it as a kid. The Boys travel to the countryside, where a recently deceased relative has bequeathed, to Sach, a piece of real estate. Upon their arrival, Slip, Sach and the Gang encounter a pack of rifle-toting, long-bearded feuding hillbillies named "Smith", who seem to be locked in a perpetual, single-minded quest to shoot anyone from the rival "Jones" Family. I found it hilariously madcap when Sach, after inheriting the property and in order to avoid getting shot at by his new neighbors, tried desperately to pretend that his last name was NOT Jones. When some bad guys come and take the Boys hostage, Slip cleverly turns the Hillbillies loose on the gangsters, by referring repeatedly to every single hoodlum as "Mr. Jones".
The twenty-seventh film in the Bowery Boys series at Monogram has Sach
inheriting a farm in Kentucky. The boys travel South and wind up in the
middle of a hillbilly feud. A by-the-numbers plot if there ever was
one, the only saving grace is the fish-out-of-water aspect of seeing
the New Yorkers interacting with the hillbillies. The series was
struggling by this point to come up with an idea that was even in the
same zip code as original. Leo Gorcey still has a few chuckle-worthy
malapropisms and Huntz Hall plays the buffoon to the hilt, but it all
just goes so far. David Gorcey and Bennie Bartlett hang around in the
background. You'd forget they were there except for the few times
they're given something to do, like carry the bags for Slip. Bernard
Gorcey, frequently the best part of the '50s Bowery Boys films, isn't
in this one much but once he joins the gang in Kentucky things pick up.
There are hillbilly jokes galore here like moonshine stills, revenuers,
feuds, and the obligatory pretty farmer's daughter. My favorite part of
the movie is this exchange between Slip and Sach:
Slip: "I think we better sympathize our watches." Sach: "You mean synchronize?" Slip: "I was usin' the past tense."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILER*** When Sach, aka Horace DeBussy Jones, got the news that
his Uncle Zebediah left him his farm deep in hillbilly country below
the Mason/Dixon line he and the "Bowery Boys", Slip Butch & Chuck, shot
straight down there in their sturdy jalopy to make themselves at home.
Unknown to Sach and the boys the name Jones is held beneath contempt,
even lower then cow manure, by the people in the area, Hog Liver
Hollow, the Smith Clan.
It's been years since there was a Jones living in Hog Liver Hollow and as the Smiths, who had ran the Jones out, heard that a possible Jones, Sach, was now living at the long deserted Jones Farm they lead by their gun toting leader Clem Smith went on the warpath!
Trying to keep his identity secret from the Smith Clan, who were out to blow him away, Sach now calling himself Horace DeBussy No had trouble keeping his true identity secret from them by him always opening his mouth, that Slip immediately closed, and blurting out the word Jones when introducing himself!
It's after when the Hog Liver Hollow Bank was robbed by gang of out of town gangsters lead by Big Jim, who was wounded in the robbery, that the boys good friend from the Bowery sweet shop owner Louie Dumbrowsky showed up unexpectedly and was captured by the Smith Clan in them thinking that Louis was a IRS Agent! Convinced by Sach Slip and the boys that Louie wasn't working for the IRS he was soon involved, in impersonating a doctor, in trying to save the wounded Big Jim's life when he and his gang ended up at the Jones Farm fleeing the local police.
***SPOILERS**** Ironically it was the Smith Clan who came to the boys rescue in Slip, the brains of the Bowery Boys, fooling them into thinking that Big Jim and his gang of bank robbers were in fact Jone's'! This gave Slip and the boys time to both keep Big Jim & Co from making their escape and at the same time knock them off, for all the trouble they caused them, for good measures!
In the end Slip Sach Louie and the boys ended up back north in, home sweet home, the Bowery where life there despite all its problems is a lot less complicated as well as deadly, if your a Jones, then in Hog Liver Hollow's hillbilly country.
While shooting the breeze at Louie's "Sweet Shop", Leo Gorcey (as Slip
Mahoney) and "The Bowery Boys" learn Huntz Hall (as Horace Debussy
"Sach" Jones) has inherited a plantation south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Adopting a southern accent, Mr. Hall accompanies Mr. Gorcey, David
"Condon" Gorcey (as Chuck), and Benny "Bennie" Bartlett (as Butch) to
the "Jones" farm. There, they are startled to learn the area's
hillbilly "Smith" family spends their time shooting everyone in the
"Jones" clan dead - putting Hall's life in danger. Gags include Gorcey
gets cow's milk sprayed in his face, and Hall crowing like a rooster
after eating chicken feed. Cock-a-doodle-don't.
*** Feudin' Fools (9/21/52) William Beaudine ~ Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey, Bernard Gorcey
One day while idling at Louie's Sweet Shop on the Bowery, Huntz Hall
learns he's now the proud owner of a nice bit of farm land somewhere in
the South. So he and the rest of the Bowery Boys head down to Dixie
where they do find Hall has a piece of land next to a family of rustics
The only problem is that these folks just don't cotton to anyone named Jones. They think they've driven the Joneses out, but just the name Jones gets them thar trigger fingers to itch.
Add to that a group of bank robbers who've just robbed the bank in Hog's Liver Hollow who seek refuge at the Jones farm and you have the ingredients of the plot for Feudin' Fools.
The Bowery Boys were getting a little stale with this one. The comparisons to Abbott&Costello's Comin' Round the Mountain are fairly obvious and Bud&Lou's film is far better than this one.
Still Bowery Boys fans should like it.
Feudin' Fools (1952)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
Sach (Huntz Hall) learns that his Southern uncle has left him the family farm so he packs up Slip (Leo Gorcey) and two others and head south. Once there they realize that Sach's family is feuding with another, which leads to many problems but things take a turn for the worse when the boys get mixed up with a bank robber (Lyle Talbot). The shocking thing is that it took the series twenty-seven films before they'd tackle the redneck genre, which had been popular since the silent days. Everyone from Buster Keaton to Abbott and Costello had played city folk traveling to the south and getting involved with rednecks but it took a while for our Bowery Boys. They really should have waited because the jokes here are just downright pathetic, boring and feature not an ounce of imagination. Whenever you watch one of these films you can expect a few jokes to fall on their face but this one here has pretty much everyone of them doing so. I was really surprised to see how poorly written this thing was and the perfect example happens early on when the boys arrive in town and we get a good fifteen-minute sequence of them hiding in the cabin while the rednecks are outside shooting. We get a wide range of jokes from them trying to wave a white flag only to be shot at to the redneck looking in the window and Sach thinking they're a picture. Neither of those scenes are funny and they're actually the best written gags, which is rather scary. Both Gorcey and Hall appear to be mailing in their performances as there's not a touch of energy from either of them and this is especially true of Gorcey. Talbot is clearly just cashing a paycheck and none of the rednecks stick out in a good way. FEUDIN' FOOLS is certainly one of the series low points and it's rather hard getting through the short 63-minutes.
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