Because his family has a history of insanity that breaks out when a family member hasn't married by the time they are 25 years old, Nikolai Nikolaevich (Danny Kaye) visits a matrimonial ... See full summary »
Ventriloquist Jerry Morgan has to see another love affair fail. The reason: when the relationship reaches the point when it is time to discuss marriage, his doll Clarence becomes mean and ... See full summary »
Nice, eccentric, idealistic and slightly mad Countess Aurelia, who believes that the good must prevail over evil, decides to stand up to corrupt powerful leaders of Paris in her own way, which grabs everyones attention.
Loring "Red" Nichols is a cornet-playing country boy who goes to New York in the 1920s full of musical ambition and principles. He gets a job playing in Wil Paradise's band, but quits to ... See full summary »
Barbara Bel Geddes,
June Allyson is a cashier in a dance hall and her friend Imogene Coca wants to get a job there as a dance hostess. June advises her she needs to first make herself attractive to men,and ... See full summary »
Henry Groper a struggling Optician, gets married to Eleanor to her Father's dismay. But on their wedding day, Henry is told he has 30 days to make a go of his business or else his Father ... See full summary »
A hypothetical married Polish couple arrives in New York in the early 1840's and walks to Ohio where they settle and prosper and raise children. The man loses an arm in the Civil war, and ... See full summary »
This is one of several shorts a young Danny Kaye made with Educational Pictures just before the low-budget comedy studio went out of business. Here he plays a very unlucky Russian who is chased by two huge-bearded would-be assassins into an insurance office, where an eager salesman pushes a policy on him, only to have to protect his life afterward. The rest of this two-reeler is just as delightfully absurdist and bizarre as that.
You can tell it's a cheap, quick production (the sets wobble constantly) and Charles Kemper, sharing the billing with Kaye, doesn't make too much of an impression, but I love the short's wild, unreal sense of humor. It's almost like a series of blackouts that don't actually black out, building on the absurdity of the premise, with plenty of great one-liners ("Haven't I seen you before?" "Well, I've been somewhere before.") impossible sight gags (the window-washer's clothes leak after he has been shot at), and increasingly silly dramatic-irony gags on the safeness of Nikolai Nikolayevich.
Danny Kaye's over-the-top exaggeration of a heel-clicking Russian works great in the over-the-top exaggeration of a comedy movie. I haven't loved him in everything I've seen, and I don't know if that character could support a whole series of shorts well, but here his shtick fits the piece perfectly. If you like free-form, goofy comedy and don't mind plenty of non-sequitors and impossible gags this is well worth a look.
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