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|Index||18 reviews in total|
Abbott & Costello as Harry Pierce and Willie Piper are scammed into buying
the Thomas Edison studio lot by a gentleman named Gorman (Fred Clark), who
takes them for $5000. Together they decide to follow Gorman's trail to
Hollywood where Gorman has taken up the identity of a foreign film director
named Sergei Toumanoff. Predictably Pierce & Piper wind up involved in the
shooting of one of Toumanoff's film and end up becoming stunt doubles for
his films, while Toumanoff, who's really Gorman, tries to have the bungling
Piper & Pierce done away with permanently before they realize who he really
Those looking for The Keystone Kops here might be somewhat disappointed as the antics of the Kops aren't exactly here in full force although there's an entertaining Kops style chase towards the end. Also this is a lesser effort from Abbott & Costello, whose routines had started to become predictable by this point in time. Still there's good fun to be found here especially if one is more capable of suspending disbelief and just having fun with what's on the screen. My favorite moments here include:
the opening silent movie sequence with Costello's Piper being emotionally affected by the dramatic story of a woman on the run from some nasty villains and the following scene outside the theater where Abbott's Pierce is the one who for once winds up in trouble.
the mistaken identity police-robber sequence throughout Gorman's house. Clark is quite funny in this scene which is a classic Abbott & Costello "who's who" routine all the way.
Well, this is far from classic A&C. Basicly, it's a silly romp with a lot
dumb skits. That being said, I absolutely love this movie. It is a
sentimental favorite. The use of modern Universal stuntmen to act as the
Keystone Cops, and the appearance of Mack Sennett himself make this a
to treasure. Don't worry about plot. Don't think about how out of place
and Lou seem in this. Just sit back and have fun with it. This is strictly
"ride" movie. Take the gags as they come.
All through my years growing up, I always looked forward to my local station cycling around the A&C films to when they would be showing this movie on Sunday morning.
I've seen 28 A&C movies, and I have to say that this comedy team is
consistently enjoyable. The only movie that's no good is their last
("Dance w/Me, Henry"); all the others range from fall-over hilarious to
innocently droll. In a couple of films Costello seems distracted and
campy, but in most he manages to be sympathetic, as he is in this one.
I have especially enjoyed sorting through their later "lesser" movies, like " Go to Mars" and " Go to Alaska", which I found quite entertaining, and I am entertained by this movie for most of the same reasons: Costello's cherubic character seems more warm and ingratiating as the movies go along. To me, the more relaxed timing in their acting and partnership makes them more engaging. Instead of so much verbal patter, the later movies emphasize character, and may actually be funnier and more appealing to anyone speaking English as a foreign language (Cantinflas movies, with their long stretches of static action, are miserably boring to watch if you don't know Spanish).
In " Keystone Cops", I found myself once again watching a cartoon-like feature-length movie that just happened to have, miraculously, Abbott and Costello as main characters. How do you go wrong with that, especially if you have an 8-year-old mind in a 56-year-old body? Nope, there are none of the classic verbal routines here, but how many of those can you watch over and over again? A&C are plenty amusing as protagonistsa classic duo like Laurel and Hardy, and although they did not make me roll with laughter, the movie certainly kept me smiling with its convivial mood and enjoyable cast.
The movie has good production values, with lots of real out-of-doors shots, steam engines, single prop airplanes, and lots and lots of stunts. It is more of an "action film" than some of their other films; in fact, it's worth watching just to see the stunt men, who are really fabulous. Generally I am offended when one of these films stops being an A&C movie and becomes a stunt-man movie (as Buster Keaton famously said, "Stunt men aren't funny", meaning they don't convey character). But here, the director sets up the stunts so clearly (sometimes frightening, like the train-in-the-tunnel), that they come across as very funny events. The actors playing the Keystone Cops are stupendous. I had to stop-motion parts of the final chase because I couldn't believe what they were doing.
The film has an excellent final joke.
By the way, has anyone else noticed that in some movies, like this one, the lip sync is way off during some of the long shots?
Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Abbott and Costello and don't dislike any of their movies. This is not one of their very best but is enjoyable nonetheless. The coolest part of the film is the fact that it's centered around the movie business and pays homage to the silent comedies of years before. There is a cameo by Mack Sennett and of course, the 50's remakes of the Keystone Kops! Bud and Lou are two pals turned hobos after they are tricked into "buying" Edison theater. After they are tricked, they pursue the crook and end up working in the Hollywood movie scene. In their later movies, Bud Abbottt's persona changed a lot and it is seen here. He becomes a lot nastier, more gruff, and starts to take more of a part in the physical aspect of the comedy. Although I enjoy his earlier years a bit more, it's all good. Lou is unchanging and as amusing as ever. Also, I think Fred Clark deserves credit as the villain (especially in his "cover" of the flamboyant Sergei Toumanoff!). Without him, the whole burglar gag wouldn't have worked at all. Finally, the ending chase sequence is great! The use of the zany Keystone Kops is wonderful and the 50's versions of the icons do a great job. Look for the part where Bud and Lou ride through the stack of hay. Hilarious!! Well worth a look for A&C fan as well as fans of classic comedy.
"Abbott and Costello meet the Keystone Kops" gives a nice homage to the
silent film era, in most ways. In that and every other respect, this film
flawed only by the long and eventually tedious chase scene involving the
fake Keystone Kops. I admit it is enjoyable to watch people run in fast
motion (typical of silent films), but that scene gets boring before long. I
am a big Abbott and Costello fan. Here, the acting is good. Fred Clark is
good as Joseph Gorman, and the man who plays the producer (I don't remember
his name) was billed last, and he is one of the best actors in the cast,
better than Fred Clark, even! Also, Roscoe Ates (the hillbilly who
was perfect! The mistaken identity scene of the two policemen and crooks is
hilarious. This film also has many other hilarious touches: Costello being
thrown out of the theater (twice), the train scenes, the stop-motion when
Joseph Gorman (disguised as Sergei), yells Cut!, Abbott and Costello being
carried by each other at various times, and many more. This is not the best
A&C film (only one film is reserved for that honor), but this is not a bad
film. It doesn't need to be better, really. It all depends on your expectations (and that should never be very high anyway).
Costello plays Tubby, a fan of the Nickelodeon flickers, sometime around
1914. Abbott is Slim, who convinces Tubby to buy a motion picture studio
with his aunt's money. The duo are conned by Joe Gorman (Fred Clark) who
follow him to California. Will the duo catch up to Gorman, or will Gorman
get the best of them?
"Meet the Keystone Kops" is probably the last fun film Abbott and Costello made. It is a surprise, considering that Costello just recovered from a major illness. Indeed, Costello looks thinner than in any of his previous films, so calling his character "Tubby" is somewhat off the mark.
Both Abbott and Costello are at their slapstick best. This too is a surprise, considering that Costello supposedly told Abbott in an earlier time not to slap him anymore!
Fred Clark is deliciously evil as Joe Gorman and is one of Abbott and Costello's finest foils. Clark's skill as an actor, coupled with his sense of comedy, are wonderful to see.
7 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although this film was made very late in their film careers, this
Abbott and Costello film is amazingly enjoyable--proving that even as
late as 1955, the team was still capable of making good movies. In
fact, 1955 was a very good year, with the equally enjoyable ABBOTT AND
COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY also coming to the screen.
The film gets very high marks for being focused on the comedy team and not filling the movie with padding such as song and dance numbers (this is so in at least half their films). There also, thankfully, is no parallel romantic plot--another part of the formula that didn't help their earlier films.
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEETS THE KEYSTONE KOPS begins with the boys buying a movie studio from a shady character (Fred Clark). However, when they go to take possession of the place, they find that the crook had sold this to many people--and it wasn't his to sell in the first place. So, for the first third or more of the film, Bud and Lou are trying to cross the United States to go to Hollywood, as the trail of this crook has led there.
Once in L.A., the fall into a movie shoot and don't realize it. However, their amazing driving of a runaway wagon wasn't lost on the film's producer--he loved the boys and wanted them to work in upcoming films. The director, in contrast, wasn't thrilled as this was Clark in disguise as a "great European director" and so far, no one had caught on that he had been a con man. And, to keep this a secret, Clark hired Slapsie Maxie Rosenblum to "arrange an accident" and get rid of Abbott and Costello once and for all. There's more to it than that as well as a crazy tribute to the Keystone Kops in the finale, but you'll just need to see the film to find out what happens.
Overall, it's a funny film and a decent homage to silent comedy. Not their best but probably among their better films, this should make most Abbott and Costello fans quite happy.
Good movies about the early days of movies are scarce, which is strange and disappointing considering what a wealth of good material exists about that era. Peter Bogdanovich's NICKLEODEON started off pretty well but descended into trite soap opera before it finished. One of the best movies about silent movies is this one, maybe because it has a real feel for the time and the characters and presents them with a certain degree of authenticity. All that aside it's also a lot of fun. Bud and Lou are on form, the supporting cast (especially the great Fred Clark) is good, and the stunts are funny and well executed with nary a CG shot in sight. One of the best things about it is the lively musical score, in part by an uncredited Henry Mancini who recycled some of it for the chase scenes in Blake Edwards THE GREAT RACE. Recommended for slapstick fans.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is actually one of the boys better outings. It has their regular
script writer in John Grant & one of their regular directors in Charles
Lamont at the helm. It is in a way, very much a salute to the early
silent Mack Sennett Comedies as it's title suggests.
Fred Clark does a very good turn as the heavy though evil stands little chance in getting one up on Lou Costello as he proved in taking on all the monsters & milking them for laughs. The film starts with a little history as A&C are conned into purchasing the historic Edison studios in New Jersey which by the 1950's were a run down set of slums.
Then through only the kind of trip A&C can make, they decide to go to Hollywood. One way or another they ride the rails & live by their wits & stale bread reaching their destination. Here is where some fine silent slapstick sequences are put together in order to foil the heavy.
The sequences are borrowed from Harold Lloyd, W C Fields, & the Keystone Kops are thrown in for good measure. Enjoy it
There is a real change in the role portrayed by Bud Abbott in this
In past films, he has had the role of Costello's straight man for dialogue
scenes. He played a sharp, smart, heavy. No one was meant to take this
seriously, but Abbott played the bad guy! He usually gets the best of
Costello. (This is not true of their famous "Dice Routine", "The Lemon
and that oh so satisfying conclusion of "Africa Screams".) When it came
physical comedy, Costello was on his own, with Abbott nowhere to be found.
But starting with this film, and continuing with "A & C Meet the Mummy"
"Dance with Me, Henry", Bud Abbott has become a buffoon. He takes more
pratfalls in this film and in "The Mummy" than he did in all of his other
films combined. Now it is obvious that a stunt man is doing the physical
bits for him, but it is nice to see Abbott become funny. Why didn't this
happen sooner? Maybe it was Lou Costello's ego. Maybe it was Bud
illness. Maybe Abbott just didn't care and let Costello carry the team.
With "Keystone Kops", the writers have finally made Bud Abbott funny. He tries to be gruff and mean, but it just isn't in him. He tries to show that he is braver and smarter than Costello, but no one believes him. There is finally some depth to the team. Costello is still silly and innocent, but now Abbott is a phony to the world. In the past he was able to fool everyone but Lou.
Now I am not saying that I do not enjoy the previous A&C efforts. Some of them are brilliant comedies and John Grant's routines are always marvelous. However, it took so much time for the characters of Bud and Lou to grow. I only wish there were more films to see their metamorphosis.
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