|Index||4 reviews in total|
If you're not really an Abbott & Costello fan, there's not much chance of this documentary making you one. Not because the team isn't funny or didn't make very funny movies (except towards the end of their career), but because this is a grating, annoying, almost completely incompetent piece of dreck that gives you virtually no insight as to why the two were so wildly popular, and the braying, obnoxious narration of Jack E. Leonard--an aggressive, tenth-rate nightclub "insult" comic in the Don Rickles tradition but without an iota of Rickles' talent--sinks whatever slight potential this dud may have had. Leonard sounds more like he's auditioning for a nightclub gig than narrating a documentary; much of his "narration" consists of stupid puns and unfunny "jokes" delivered at his trademark machine-gun pace, which is completely inappropriate for this kind of movie. There's not much background information given on the team, which is just one example of the sloppiness and carelessness that characterizes this film. Another one is the fact that the clips that are shown aren't in any particular order, so you get no sense of the progression of the team's career, and, if I recall correctly, little or no mention is made of the battles they had that would result in their going for months without speaking to each other (and, in the cases of "The Time of Their Lives" and "Little Giant," arrange it so they had few scenes together). If you're an Abbott & Costello fan you won't find out anything you didn't already know about them from this annoying and incompetent mess. If you're not an A&C fan, then go out and rent some of their early (which are also their funniest) films, or get what is generally considered to be their absolute best movie: "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein" from 1948. You'll learn a lot more about the team from those pictures than you will from this dog.
The World of Abbott and Costello (1965)
** (out of 4)
This compilation features clips from various Abbott and Costello movies that they comedy legends made at Universal but you know you're in trouble when the director decides to start the film off with footage from ABBOTT AND COSTELLO GO TO MARS, which is considered one of their worst films. This is a pretty weird film to judge because on one hand I can see where it would have been useful when it was released since it probably wasn't so easy to track down and view the 19 Abbott and Costello films that we see clips of here. On the other hand, I really do wonder if director Sidney Miller had some sort of limitations on the clips that he could use because as someone who has seen every single A&C movie, I must admit that I was a little confused at some of the clips they picked. Don't get me wrong, there are some really funny moments to be found here including a nice section where we see the duo selling illegal or weak products on the streets. These moments always made for some great moments. We also get the famous dice scene as well as the one where Abbott tries to borrow $50 from Costello but he only has $40. With that said, there are many questionable clips shown that simply aren't that funny and quite often they take clips from movies that are rather weak and yet leave out much better ones. THE WISTFUL WIDOW OF WAGON GAP, RIDE 'EM COWBOY, IN THE NAVY, HIT THE ICE, A&C MEET FRANKENSTEIN, THE NAUGHTY NINETIES and BUCK PRIVATES COME HOME are just a few of the films. One other strange thing is the added narration by Jack E. Leonard who usually jumps into scenes with pointless comments. They even have him interrupt during the finale of the Who's On First routine!
Comic Jack E. Leonard narrates this documentary look at the films of
Abbott & Costello, which spans their first films right until the end,
using clips and puns to introduce mid-1960's audiences to the team,
despite their films being shown on television in various syndicated
packages throughout the country.
Perfectly awful documentary has no point whatsoever. Jack E. Leonard's narration is unfunny and poorly assembled, as are the clips chosen. Sure many of them are funny, but viewer is far better off watching the complete films. No background information on the team either! A waste, though can be viewed on the DVD collection, for those inclined.
This compilation feature does a disservice to the memory of the beloved
comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The film is a random
selection of scenes from the team's Universal films, assembled in
evident haste, with none of the care or respect of Robert Youngson's
comedy documentaries, and burdened with a condescending narration by
Jack E. Leonard. The non-stop footage of the boys makes it a breezy
enough light entertainment but a poor introduction to Abbott and
To its credit the film offers clips from a few of Abbott and Costello's best films (Buck Privates, Who Done It?, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, In the Navy, Buck Privates Come Home) and several memorable ones (Ride 'Em Cowboy, Hit the Ice, In Society, The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap). And the immortal "Who's On First?" routine, as performed in The Naughty Nineties, is duly featured as an appropriate finale.
Yet, with all the riches at their disposal, producer Milton Subotsky and editorial director Sidney Meyer focused inordinately on the team's later, lesser films: Little Giant, Mexican Hayride, Abbott and Costello In the Foreign Legion, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops, Comin' Round the Mountain, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy and the notorious Lost in Alaska.
It is inexplicable that such mediocre material would be consciously chosen over classics like Hold That Ghost, Keep 'Em Flying, Pardon My Sarong, It Ain't Hay, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man and (supremely) The Time of Their Lives. Clearly the compilers had little knowledge or appreciation of the subject of their film. The resulting curio is an unintended insult to classic movie comedy.
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