Timid milkman, Burleigh Sullivan (Lloyd), somehow knocks out a boxing champ in a brawl. The fighter's manager decides to build up the milkman's reputation in a series of fixed fights and the... Read allTimid milkman, Burleigh Sullivan (Lloyd), somehow knocks out a boxing champ in a brawl. The fighter's manager decides to build up the milkman's reputation in a series of fixed fights and then have the champ beat him to regain his title.Timid milkman, Burleigh Sullivan (Lloyd), somehow knocks out a boxing champ in a brawl. The fighter's manager decides to build up the milkman's reputation in a series of fixed fights and then have the champ beat him to regain his title.
I've watched all but a couple of Lloyd's Talkies (WELCOME DANGER  and PROFESSOR BEWARE ): while his transition to the new medium was certainly not as disastrous as Buster Keaton's, I still feel that Lloyd's brand of comedy wasn't particularly suited to Sound; as a matter of fact, the film depends a good deal on dialogue for laughs - and most of the best lines are not even delivered by the star! McCarey himself (reportedly, he fell ill during production of THE MILKY WAY and some scenes were actually directed by Norman Z. McLeod) had been a practitioner of Silent comedies for Laurel & Hardy but, when Sound came in, proceeded to work with practically all the major Talkie star comedians - Eddie Cantor, The Marx Bros., W.C. Fields, Mae West, and even Cary Grant. In any case, the milkman-turned-boxer plot line provides plenty of uproarious situations - and it was eventually revamped as a musical vehicle for Danny Kaye called THE KID FROM BROOKLYN (1946; I watched this as a kid and, if I have the time, I may check it out again as well) which, incidentally, was directed by Norman Z. McLeod!
Still, like I said, Lloyd is somewhat upstaged by his fellow actors in this one: Adolphe Menjou as the smart boxing manager (of two rival prizefighters!) and Lionel Stander as his burly but dim-witted hood/assistant; but the women are strong characters as well, particularly Verree Teasdale as Menjou's cynical girl (incidentally, the couple were married in real-life!) and Helen Mack as Lloyd's brave but apprehensive younger sister (conveniently engaged off by Menjou to the current boxing champ - whom Lloyd had ostensibly knocked out in a fit of rage and who would like to get his prestige back). The ending, however, is a bit abrupt - especially since the women (including Lloyd's love interest, played by Dorothy Wilson) are kind of neglected...as is a newborn pony which has followed Lloyd into the boxing arena! Unfortunately, I experienced some freezing issues around the 27-minute mark but, when I played the scene back, the glitch was thankfully not repeated.
P.S. According to the IMDb, there are at least 11 movies made between 1917 and 2006 entitled THE MILKY WAY but, apart from the Lloyd/McCarey picture, the most notable are certainly the Oscar-winning 1940 animated short and Luis Bunuel's wickedly funny 1969 treatise on Catholic dogma.
- Dec 18, 2006