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"The Long, Long Trailer" is a thoroughly enjoyable "vehicle" for a nostalgic
trip back to the talents of Desi and Lucy. Desi, eager to please, gives in
to Lucy, as she dreams of, and schemes for, a life on wheels, only to find
that soaring dreams can come crashing down to reality faster than rocks
crashing down a mountainside. The result for the viewer is back and forth
laughs and empathy.
The comedy centers on Desi and Lucy. But secondary characters are funny too. Marjorie Main is terrific as the too helpful mother hen. And the overly enthusiastic trailer brakes man is a hoot. "Trailer brakes first, trailer brakes first. These are your trailer blinker lights ... There's your trailer stop light. Now put your blinker lights on. Left. Right. Trailer brakes. Car brakes. Lights. Left. Right. Trailer brakes. Car brakes. OK, let's go". Funny stuff.
The film is mostly comedy, of course. But it also has tension. In the mountain scenes, cinematography and sound override script. Here, the visual perspective of depth and distance combine with sounds of falling rocks and screeching brakes to create a sense of apprehension. Truly, Director Vincente Minnelli knew how to make effective films.
Unlike the trailer, the film is somewhat lightweight. But there are times when you don't want to watch a movie with a ponderous plot or heavy-duty message with "meaning". Lucy and Desi's talent was comedy, not Shakespeare. "The Long, Long Trailer", fluff that it is, is good fluff. It is funny (dramatic too), absorbing, and cinematically well made. And with a breezy musical score, what more could you want?
Impulsive Tacy somehow convinces obliging husband-to-be Nicky that they
should buy a trailer to live in after they marry. She has her heart set
on one particular model that looks great in the ad, but when they find
out how small it really is, they're ready to go back to the idea of the
house. But then Tacy sees it - the long, long trailer!
The movie is really nothing more than an extended comedy skit in which Nicky, Tacy, and the long, long trailer travel from California to Colorado. It's very skillfully executed with nice variations in the pacing and some very tastefully applied restraint. The highlight of the movie is the going over the mountain scene, which starts off in very understated manner and slowly builds to hilarious crescendo as they climb to the top of the pass. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, playing their characters from "I Love Lucy", work perfectly together and make this movie a fun time for everyone.
I first saw this movie when I was 12 in the movie theater, I never forgot it over the years. It remains one of my all time favorites to this day. The scenes where Lucy falls out the door into the mud and when she is trying to fix their dinner in the trailer while Ricky drives are hysterical. Another of my favorites is when they are going up the mountain and Lucy knows she didn't get rid of the rocks Desi told her too and the mountain is sooooooo steep! I was in a situation once where we were traveling up a very high mountain with a steep incline on my side of the car and all I could think of was this movie and that scene. I was tickled to death when I could finally get my own copy to watch whenever I needed a good laugh. Lucy & Desi are great together.
Thanks to IMDb, I never realized Vincente Minnelli directed this film!
Riding high on the popularity of "I Love Lucy," this film is
essentially Lucy and Ricky on the road, "disguised" as Nicki and Tacy.
Whoever they might be called, this film is fun. Too bad they didn't
include a cameo of Ted and Elsie too! I think that Minnelli perfectly
captured the enthusiasm of "America in the Road" during the 1950s with
its fascination for travel.
The comedy seems rather stilted at times, perhaps because it wasn't filmed in front of a live studio audience, and there are no really big laugh out loud moments. Still, the movie is a neat little gem from the carefree 50s when all we had to worry about was keeping up with the Jones'.
If you love I Love Lucy you'll love The Long, Long Trailer! I remember watching this video many times with my grandma a few years back. Lucy and Desi are just precious. The scenes with Lucy falling out of the trailer into the mud and where she stays in the moving trailer trying to make dinner are reason enough to rent this movie!
So often critics and historians say that Lucy never made it in films or that she was just the "Queen of the B's before TV made her a superstar." But many of her best 40's films are now available on DVD and this absolute gem from the 50's should prove Lucy's film worthiness to everyone. A perfect comedy with some dramatic undertones that was filmed in 1953 just as Lucy and Desi were at their zenith as stars. Minnelli' s superb direction, a delightful script, and gorgeous technicolor magnify Lucy and Desi's wonderful performances. Like all comedy classics this film is grounded in reality and that is why all the pratfalls and situations work so beautifully. The story about newlyweds who spend their honeymoon in a trailer does not date one bit. Lucy looks amazingly young and beautiful even though she was already 42. Desi also gives a great performance. His shower scene is unforgettable and Lucy flying out of the trailer is a must see for any comedy lover. It's shame Lucy did not get more scripts like this one. Often her films were highly successful at the box-office but not that good("DuBarry Was a Lady"1943, "Easy to Wed"1946,"Sorrowful Jones"1949) but this is one of the great winners in her long career.
Back in the good IL' days, when couples didn't regularly jump into bed before marriage, newlyweds Tracy (Lucille Ball) and Nicky (Desi Arnaz) Collini are anticipating their first night of youthful, athletic lovemaking in their beautiful new home (a housetrailer). The audience anticipates the sexiness of their first night of intimacy, since they're, like, REALLY in love (both Lucy & Desi were great actors, their real-life marriage was going none too good at the time). Telling a white lie while trying to avoid entertaining their overly-helpful new neighbors, played marvelously by Alpha-Female Marjorie Main and fussy, folksy Howard McNear (later of Floyd the Barber fame on Andy Griffith), Tracy makes matters much worse. When poor Nicky nearly gets rid of the hoard of locusts that descended upon his wedding night, he finds his blushing bride is unconscious for the next several hours, thanks to a helpful dosage of sleeping pills...it's pitiful and hilarious. Regardless of what some people say, this movie is definitely not "an extended episode of I Love Lucy." Minnelli is much more gifted and inventive a director to earn that sort of put-down. He and Lucy work together stupendously to work in some fresh, sophisticated gags that would've been too much for a half-hour TV show. Lucille Ball proves that she can make you grin wide and even laugh furiously without resorting to the schemes and slap-stick devices she'd already perfected on the small screen...true, she does try to prepare a 4-course meal in the trailer while Nicky drives over rough, winding roads at 60 miles per hour, with hilarious results of the face-covered-in-salad-oil-and-flour variety. But, in TLLT, Lucy portrays a more aware, decisive and assertive character than the Mrs. Ricardo we know so well. While her edgy hubby is always fretting about what could go wrong in towing his monstrous trailer, Lucy takes the wheel 3 days into their cross-country trek and steers both car and mobile home with casual assurance and skill. Desi also extended his acting skill by jettisoning Ricky's male-dominator role in favor of almost Clousseauesque persona; he's unsure of his financial future, his auto-piloting skills, his ability to make a happy marriage and provides us with some wonderful sight-gags along the way. Nicky's shower-scene was the greatest one in movie history until Psycho came along...us men think it's funny becuz we know the infuriating apparatus is just about to conk him in the gonads, while women have enjoyed the thought that one of their favorite male celebs was doing it buck-naked. This is truly one of the best traveling comedies of all time, right up there with "Planes Trains & Automobiles". Minnelli and Keenan Wynn collaborate to give us one absolutely side-splitting scene, with Keenan playing a silent, sarcastic traffic-cop...worthy of Chaplin's praise. The story is told in flashback and near the end we recognize that the couple is going to divorce after Tracy's awful subterfuge - after all, her Nicky is an engineer and she tries to violate several of Newton's Laws of Gravity & Thermodynamics, bringing on wreck, ruin and economic disaster. There's just no hope for this marriage. Too bad, sniff, sniff. You guess the ending.
This is a good movie for Lucy fans and for those who miss the sweetly innocent comedies of the 1950's. It's a nice vehicle for Lucy and Desi who were then at the peak of their TV popularity. The characters they play in the film are just slight variations on the Ricardos (Lucy and Ricky become Tacy and Nicky). They are newlyweds who set off across America in...well, the title gives it away...in a long, long trailer. The main problem with the movie is that's all that it's about. There is virtually no plot, nor even the oddball vignettes that you normally find in a road movie of this sort. There are a couple of good comic moments for Lucy, and she sure looks cute in some of those vintage 50s outfits. Minnelli directs well (I especially like his use of color), but without a plot, there's only so much he can do. Still, it's a sweetly nostalgic movie to see, short and painless.
This movie really needs to come out on DVD and sooooon!!!! it is one of the best funny movies out there. I have been seeing lucy movies and shows since i was a yourg boy. I love the classics, you did not need special effects for it to be a good movie. Don't get me wrong i love the new ones but the classics rule!! so i hope the Long,long Trailer comes out on DVD soon for everyone to enjoy. Those movies from yesteryear will always be king of movies. the stars can be compared with a lot of today starts if you look carefully at movie stars today. Kevin costner is our steve mc queen and so on. funny how life is reborn in different ways. Just need to look closer when we have our eyes open! thank you to who ever may care to be reading this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mildly amusing, THE LONG, LONG TRAILER is the film with Lucille Ball
and Desi Arnaz that most people recall if they think of the films they
did together. That is not because their films were remarkable (they are
entertaining to an extent) but because they only made three films
together (TOO MANY GIRLS, FOREVER DARLING, THE LONG, LONG TRAILER). The
best one is TOO MANY GIRLS, which actually was made when the two met on
the set of the film. It happens to have a nice cast (including Eddie
Bracken, Anne Miller, and Francis Langford), and even a score by
Rodgers and Hart. But it is not one of the all time great musicals.
FOREVER DARLING co-starred them with James Mason (that is a casting
match almost on level with Bob Hope and Katherine Hepburn in THE IRON
PETTICOAT). Then came THE LONG, LONG TRAILER, which has some
interesting supporting cast (Keenan Wynn, Marjorie Main, Howard McNear)
and an interesting director (Vincent Minneli). The second and third
film could only be made because of the deserved success of the
television show I LOVE LUCY, but in reality they aren't that much.
Still THE LONG, LONG TRAILER is of interest as one of the few films ever to discuss the phenomenon of trailers in changing American living and vacationing ideas. Trailers actually appeared in films prior to the 1950s. The Laurel and Hardy short, THEM THAR HILLS, showed the boys taking a "restful" vacation using a trailer to go to the mountains. That was in 1938. But it was rarely shown because it was such a specialized way of travel, and dependent on good roads. But the 1950s saw one achievement that was due to the Eisenhower Administration that is frequently overlooked. Ike pushed for the real development of an interstate highway system. It was a major change to the American scene. Not only in the pushing of many middle class families in using trailers for vacations across the nation, but also in convincing people to travel even by car across state boarders. It is no accident that in the early 1960s one of the most popular television series was ROUTE 66, wherein two young men traveled across the whole nation on that particular highway having adventures in many states.
The Eisenhower years were also the years of economic recovery - the Second World War had pushed American industry into full throttle, and most other major countries had serious economic problems due to the war. The improved American economy gave us a chance to spend more. Although Desi looks worried when he purchases the new trailer (especially as he also has to modify his car's rear bumper) he still is able to sign a large check for the down payment of the vehicle. He could not have done that in the 1930s or 1940s.
The plot is how Lucy (who wants to travel) convinces Desi to buy the trailer, and how the optimism of the purchase (based on the ideal dream of seeing the world from your moving house) hides the fact that you are driving a vehicle that is as difficult to maneuver on land as a yacht is at sea. From the start when Desi is shown the proper way to move the car and trailer ("Trailer, Brake, Forward") he is constantly aware that he is pulling a dead weight behind him. A weight made even heavier because Lucy insists on a new hobby (collecting rocks from every site they park their new home).
There are problems with pulling it into the driveway of Lucy's aunt's house, or of stopping at a red light (and by not doing it properly, annoying traffic police officer Keenan Wynn). There is also the problem of water supply and the pipes (when Desi tries to take a shower), and even of cooking when the trailer is in motion (my favorite section of the film: Desi singing contentedly while driving, thinking of the fine meal Lucy is supposed to be cooking him, and then discovering at the conclusion that Lucy is covered in food and flour due to bumps and jumps made by the car and trailer while moving). At the conclusion he has had enough, and his explosion threatens to destroy the marriage.
If it was not that Vincent Minelli's name is on this film one would be hard pressed to see his traces here. Some of his artistic taste is evident in the design of the trailer, and the colors in the film, but the material is not the sort he normally dealt with. He could do comedy (witness THE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE) but his characters usually have meatier stories to tell. This is not one of them.
Still for a pleasant viewing it is easy to watch and smile at. But if you want to see Lucy and Desi at their best, stick to their classic comedy show.
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