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Fake fortune teller Professor Bird and his assistant Sparrow are in a Mexican resort near a gambling casino. Sparrow has fallen for Anita, an American girl who has lived with gypsies since she was four. But the gypsy leader Julius also wants her, and is willing to get her at any cost. Also at the casino are Miss Furst and her niece Ruth, who loves aviator Billy, but Miss Furst wants her to marry the Baron. But the Baron is only after Ruth's money. Miss Furst is very interested in contacting her late husband and hires Bird, especially after he helped her getting back her purse that was stolen by Julius. The Baron teams up with the Gypsies, after he noticed that Ruth and Billy are secretly engaged and has her kidnapped. Anita, who followed Sparrow is also taken back to Mexico. Billy, Bird and Sparrow start of to Mexico on their separate ways to free their girls, but it's not so easy, especially when staying at a hotel with some strange other guests and very careful gypsy guards.Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wheeler and Woolsey had made one previous movie together, RIO RITA. RIO RITA was a musical extravaganza and in this film the standout performances were by Bebe Daniels and Wheeler and Woolsey. In fact, the audience response was so positive to the boys that RKO immediately signed them to star in THE CUCKOOS--another musical with comedy interludes. While similar to RIO RITA, it's very different from their later films because there is so much singing--and many of their later films had none. Now some singing might not have been a bad thing. The songs Wheeler and Woolsey sang were pretty cute and they were amazingly good dancers--showing their vaudeville heritage as song and dance men. Even Bert Wheeler's sweet "I Love You So Much" number was quite pleasant--even if it was without Woolsey and was a love song. Unfortunately, there were 2983 songs in the film (I counted them--trust me on this) and after a while it just became a distraction from the comedy--a MAJOR distraction. HUGE song and dance numbers like "Tap the Devil Away" were big, colorful (with two-color Technicolor for several dance numbers, such as this one) were particularly annoying and pointless. You really can't blame the boys for all this--this is what RKO wanted and musicals were hugely popular in 1930.
As for the comedy, Wheeler and Woolsey were better than normal--far less annoying than in some of their later outings and it's just a shame they didn't have more chance to do their stuff. I particularly liked the bedroom scene where EVERYONE seemed to keep interrupting their sleep. It was a bit reminiscent of the later stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers' A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. Also, although it's a big icky, the scene where Wheeler dresses in drag and seduces the gypsy men is funny as well.
The boys star as phony psychics who get into trouble just south of the border (in Mexico). They hang out in the world's weirdest casino, as it has huge Busby Berkeley-style song and dance numbers and the gambling seems almost unimportant! They bumble into a kidnapping plot and Wheeler also gets on the bad side of an evil Gypsy (a popular group to hate back in 1930). Why Gypsies were in Mexico and living right next to the casino is anyone's guess.
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