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Another Bowery Boys stinker as Huntz Hall tries to keep the series afloat with his new partner, Stanley Clements. This one has the Boys dealing with a bratty child TV star. It's a new plot for a tired series, so I'll give it points for that. However, it's just not much fun. The series, now on its forty-third movie, is limping to the finish line without star Leo Gorcey or his father Bernard. There's really not a lot to focus on here. Hall's doing his usual mugging for the camera and maybe once or twice approaches being humorous. Clements is dull as mud. Other Bowery Boys David Gorcey and Jimmy Murphy are just 'there.' Queenie Smith offers tepid support. Philip Phillips plays the kid and he certainly hams it up but I just didn't find him amusing. The highlight of the film is sexy Joi Lansing who, aside from looking beautiful as usual, gets to show off her comedy chops some. It's not a very funny movie, which makes its short runtime seem twice as long. Fans of the series who want to check it off their list might enjoy it more than casual viewers. Personally I would recommend fast-forwarding to Joi Lansing's scenes and ignoring the rest.
Stanley Clements and Huntz Hall and the rest of that Bowery Boys crew
find themselves nurse maids to young Phil Phillips a precocious young
kid who is a noted child star of a weekly television series. The kid
tried to steal that famous Bowery Boys jalopy vehicle and he winds up
Once the studio in the form of Robert Shayne is convinced they did not kidnap the lad he brings them into the television studio as by now Phillips has grown kind of attached to Sach. The reason is very simple, the boys treat him like a kid instead of a commodity.
In fact that's just what he is, a commodity to his uncle and guardian Mark Dana. He's misinvested the kid's money in a lot of things including high maintenance blond Joi Lansing.
Sadly although a funny film with Huntz Hall doing low ball hijinks it's also too uncomfortably real. A whole lot of real life stories of kid stars don't end as well as this one does.
Stanley Clements tries his best, but the series just lost something without Leo and Bernard Gorcey.
Precocious preteen Phil Phillips (as Joey Munroe) tries to steal the
jalopy owned by skinny-legged Huntz Hall (as Horace Debussy "Sach"
Jones) and his tough-talking chum Stanley Clements (as Stanislaus
"Duke" Coveleskie). The two men catch the kid, and bring him back to
the boarding house run by motherly Queenie Smith (as Kate Kelly). Mr.
Hall and Mr. Clements decide to help the juvenile delinquent, who turns
out to be a missing TV star. Then, one kidnapping leads to another...
For this one, "The Bowery Boys" are Hall, Clements, ever-present David "Condon" Gorcey (as Chuck), and semi-regular Jimmy Murphy (as Myron). The routine hi-jinks are livened up by two comic staples - a bratty kid and a busty blonde, with comely Joi Lansing offering a pointed performance as the latter. At least, the limping film series could be depended on for an attractive woman. Better than the film is the lobby card showing Ms. Joi bent over "doggie style" for Hall's erect cigar.
*** Hot Shots (12/23/56) Jean Yarbrough ~ Huntz Hall, Stanley Clements, Phil Phillips, Joi Lansing
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS*** The first of the "Bowery Boys" movies without their
leader the Oxford & Cornell, educated, in English Literature, Slip
Mahoney played by Leo Gorcey. After his last movie "Crashing Las Vegas"
Gorcey just dropped out of sight and was never seen or heard from again
until seven years later when he resurfaced, looking a bit worn out and
under the influence, in the 1963 comedy "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World".
It was a tough act to follow but Stanley Clements did a commendable job
replacing Gorcey as the "Bowery Boys" new man in charge Stanislas
"Duke" Coveleski. The only drawback on Stanley's part was his lack of
command of the English Language that Gorcey had which made him so
popular in the series.
Nothing that great about "Hot shots" in the boys getting involved with this 10 year old runaway Joey Monroe, Philip Philips, who despite being the star of the #1 show on TV "The Joey Munroe Show" is sick and tire of all the fame success and money he has. All that Joey wants is to go fishing, like most kids his age, for the weekend. It's when Joey is caught stealing Duke & Sach's jalopy that it's discovered who he is after accusing the boys of kidnapping him. This leads to a number of skeletons coming out of the closet in that Joey's Uncle Slater, Mark Dana, is keeping a tight grip on his nephew's earnings planning to use them to check out of the country before the truth comes out to Mexico with his girlfriend the drop dead gorgeous blond bombshell Connie Forbes played Joi Lansing. Lansing was later to play,in "The Adventures of Superman" TV series, the woman that "The Man of Steel" would marry in "The Bride of Superman".
The boys Sach & Duke together with Butch & Chuck, Jimmy Murphy & David Gorcey, for their part end up winning Joey's confidence in forcing his boss at the TV studio P.M Morley played by Robert Shayne, Inspector Henderson on the "Superman" show,to give both Sach & Duke jobs as the 34th & 35th Vice Presidents in charge of Coordination of the shows International Activities: Now there's a mouth-full for you!
Feeling that sooner or later they'll find out about him short-changing his nephew Joey out of his earnings Uncle Slater and Connie at first try to get both the boys to screw themselves up which isn't that hard to do so that P.M Morley would fire them. With little Joey refusing to cut all ties with Sach & Duke even after they were canned from their jobs Uncle Slater puts into action plan #2 as a last resort. The kidnapping of Joey Munroe and demanding $100,000.00 in ransom that, together with the $80,000.00 that they already stole from Joey, would cover all his and Connie's expenses in checking out of the country before the local police and FBI get wind of their scheme!
***SPOILERS***The usual slam bang ending with Sach & Duke and the rest of the "Bowery Boys" coming to Joey's rescue with both Uncle Slater & Connie getting their just deserts by ending up spending a long stretch in the "clink". That's what the two ended up getting for all the trouble they went through in committing the "perfect crime", kidnapping and extortion, that turned out to be anything but "perfect".
Hot Shots (1956)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
The forty-third film in the Bowery Boys series or the second in the Gorcey-less series depending on how you want to look at it. Sach (Huntz Hall) and Duke (Stanley Clements) become involved with an 8-year-old TV star (Philip Phillips) after he tries stealing their car. Soon the boys realize that the kid is being used and taken advantage of by his uncle so they try to put a stop to it but the mean uncle has planned the kids kidnapping. HOT SHOTS is the second film in a row to fall flat on its face and it's easy to see that the series has ran out of gas and the new cast and director simply can't put any spark into it. Once again we're dealing with a very bad screenplay that is clearly written for kids in mind but I'd say the slapstick is a lot less than in some of the later Gorcey pictures and it's clear that the writers didn't know how to put a story around the new leads. Hall was a very capable actor when he was supporting Gorcey and at times the earlier films would allow him to be the lead but the screenplay here simply doesn't know how to use him. Quite often his brand of comedy just comes across so forced and out-of-place that you can't help but wonder what he's doing. Hall is giving the same old Sach performance but it simply doesn't mix with the other comics. Clements once again doesn't mix with Hall as the two have no chemistry and it's impossible for the two to act together as a comic team. It also doesn't help that Phillips is without question very annoying here. The kid comes off as such a little brat that you can't help but not care about anything that is going on with him. Even worse is how unfunny the guy is. Robert Shayne is decent in his role and blonde bombshell Joi Lansing is actually pretty good in her bit. HOT SHOTS lasts just 61-minutes but it feels much longer and that's never a good thing when you're watching a "B" picture. There are four more films in the series so lets hope it redeems itself somewhat because this and the previous picture were clear signs that they should have pulled the plug.
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