Texas, Brooklyn & Heaven (1948) Poster

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Some truly hysterical moments and great character performances rise this above its mediocrity.
mark.waltz1 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
There's a gem of casting here with future "Granny" Irene Ryan and former "wicked witch" Margaret Hamilton as spinster sisters, with the more obscure Moyna MacGill as the third "Whistler's Mother" look-alike, the three meanest ladies on their block who pride themselves in having the reputation for being disliked. When a charming pick-pocket (the always delightful Florence Bates) and her "adopted" daughter (Diana Lynn) move into their home, you know that before long, they are going to prove that these three sour old biddies have big hearts of gold. Bates teaches them how to play poker and even gets them involved in the fun house owned by Michael Chekhov where eccentrics can go to pass the time fulfilling their fantasies. The very handsome Guy Madison, whom Lynn initially believes to be an escaped convict, poses as her brother, and gets Lynn a job working in the fun house which goes into a bit of haywire when the three sisters and Bates show up to utilize Chekhov's contraptions.

Told in flashback through the stories of bartender James Dunn to customer Jesse White, the convoluted structure takes time in getting its footing. It is obviously trying to be more artistic than it really is, but with all of the great character performers, it is hard to resist. Bates truly steals the show (when didn't she?) as the delightfully droll con-artist who helps crack the facade of the three sisters. Delightful character performers like Clem Bevans, William Frawley and Lionel Stander also add to the merriment which was an odd feature for future gimmick director William Castle to helm. This would have been slightly better had it eliminated the flashback set-up as well as the useless characters involved in its narrative.
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A nice little movie
praisinghiminkc1 November 2005
Diana Lynn is great as usual a year or so before her role as Irma's best friend in My Friend Irma. She carries the story quite well and it is worth seeing. I agree with another poster that the music is terrible but there isn't much of it and really it's only the music at the beginning that is that bad. It's a cute story and could have been better but still an enjoyable way to spend 76 minutes. It does have some good moments and lots of familiar faces, some you may not be able to put a name to but will recognize from other old movies. I won't go into the whole plot since that has already been covered very nicely but it is well worth your time to watch this. Since it has fallen into Public Domain you can see it at internetarchives.
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Lynn looks great and oh that supporting cast!
SanDiego20 October 2000
Secretary Diana Lynn and playwright Guy Madison (both from Texas) meet on their way to New York. Due to a misunderstanding Lynn mistakes Madison for a bank robber and tries to keep him from being found out by the police. Posing as his sister she finds a pick pocket in the subway and enlists her as their mother. Plot device shifts quickly to Lynn finding a job at a riding academy (mechanical animals) and Madison failing as a playwright (mechanical acting). An unfunny script, confusing scenes, terrible direction and an annoying soundtrack hinder this below-average B-film despite the likeability of a stellar cast of character actors: William Frawley ("I Love You"), Margaret Hamilton ("The Wizard of Oz"), Lionel Stander ("Hart to Hart"), Irene Ryan ("The Beverly Hillbillies"), and Jesse White (the original "Maytag Repairman") to name just a few. Even Audie Murphy appears in a bit part! Diana Lynn is her usual perky self (looking terrific) and some of the situations are wacky, (just not very funny). For Lynn fans and nostalgic value (though the film looks and sounds like 1930 instead of 1948!) the film can grow on you after a while.
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This film needed Emergo!
planktonrules31 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The film concerns a newspaper reporter (Guy Williams) who quits his job in Dallas and moves to New York to become a playwright. On the way, he meets a very strange but pretty young lady (Diana Lynn) who is destined to marry him--it's THAT obvious. In New York, they have some bizarre adventures that practically defy description.

The only reason I saw this film is that it was directed by William Castle--the same man who brought a long string of goofy but fun horror films in the 1950s and 60s. I saw none of this director's trademarks and longed for something like 'Emergo'--a gimmick where Castle came up with a skeleton to go flying across the audience during his "House on Haunted Hill". Well, frankly, this comedy could have used Emergo--or SOMETHING to make it gel.

The film stars, Diana Lynn and Guy Williams, are two handsome young actors that failed to carry the film. Most of this isn't their fault, as their characters (particularly Lynn's) were written rather clumsily and were also given nothing plot-wise to help them. It was as if the writer thought that tossing one goofy situation after another after another into the film would result in a good film. Well, this was NOT the case as too often these gimmicks just fell flat. On the positive side were the three straight-laced old prudes (one of which is Irene Ryan--in a pre-"Beverly Hillbillies" appearance). But, on the negative was Lynn's 'mother'--a part that made absolutely no sense. Additionally, the riding academy aspect of the film was 100% stupid...really. As a result of all these strange and disparate plot devices, the film just comes off as desperate and a bit annoying at times.

My advice is that unless your ambition is to see all of Castle's films (which vary wildly in quality but are rarely subtle), I think this is a very minor film that is worth skipping.
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A long lope for a free drink - Unfulfilled Potential
nyland89 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
While charming in a way, and predictably dated, the lack of character development and a story line that boarders on schizophrenic make this feel like a promise unrealized.

The plot, what there is of it, or more correctly, certain plot elements, are good enough to consider doing a contemporary remake of. In fact, this is a film that Hollywood could have a lot of fun with, and one can't help but feel while watching it that, in the hands of a contemporary film studio, it has enough going for it to make the movie it should have been more than fifty years ago.

***** Note: the following observations should not be considered spoilers, as they reveal nothing about where the story might lead. *****

For example, one of the plot elements revolves around a coin operated "riding academy" which could, were it remade today, easily and delightfully morph into a contemporary "virtual riding arcade". Another recurring theme is our concerned protagonist revisiting the hotel phone located at the bar which results in a temptation to drink. An updated treatment of this theme could be quite funny.

Some of the dialog is pretty good, and certain situations arise that were certainly worth incorporating into a movie, but the aggregate falls far short of it's potential, even by 1948 standards.

While it may be worth it to sit through to the end, you're more likely to be envisioning the film this could have been, rather than completely enjoying the film this turned out to be.

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Poor comedy with weak leads, but a good supporting cast
J. Spurlin4 May 2008
Eddie Tayloe's grandfather leaves him six thousand dollars and the money belt it came in, freeing Tayloe to leave his dull newspaper job in Texas and move to New York to become a playwright. Along the way, his car breaks down and a girl walking along the highway asks for a lift. It turns out she's a nice girl, named Perry, running away from a job at a gasoline station. Soon they're off to New York together, but part ways once they arrive. Time passes and Eddie is failing to sell his play; Perry is failing to find a job. Odd circumstances, involving an old pickpocket named Mandy (Florence Bates), bring them together again. Three starchy sisters (including Irene Ryan and Margaret Hamilton) renting a room, a bartender named Mike, and a sleepy old immigrant (Michael Chekhov) running a mechanical menagerie all play parts in this romantic comedy.

William Castle, before his days of making gimmick-laden shockers, directed this unfunny script, straining to be zany and eccentric, and ending up dull. Guy Madison as Eddie is very handsome but stolid. Diana Lynn as Perry fares a little better, but her affectedly odd character thwarts her efforts. Florence Bates comes off the best. The movie is bad but not unbearable, if you want to see it for the supporting cast, which includes William Frawley, Jesse White and Lionel Stander.
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otherworldly, surreal fruit syrup boiled hard
Cristi_Ciopron16 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
An unusual, stylish comedy with Madison, Diana Lynn, and many others. What's usual are the misinterpretations; what some reviewers don't seem to realize is that the Academy run by Chekhov isn't cute: it's otherworldly, and so are the three Cheever sisters, like the mythological characters, and so is the gleam in many characters' eyes, more than streetwise people, while the duo has a trustful look (him, more than her).

'Texas …' isn't supposed to correspond to the clichés; on the contrary, it defies them. The events are at once striking, and weightless, conveying a feeling of kindliness; this gentle comedy is refreshing, and, by comparison, refreshingly whimsical, a bartender's revue, with a suggestion of disheartening in the Academy subplot (the Academy's success is ulterior to the storyline, and a convention required for the duo to move on and return home). Which is the Heaven? It's like the playwright finds a 4th dimension in that unnerving Academy, and there's a posthumous feel both in the Academy subplot and in the three sisters' mansion, and even in the spooky lady adopted by the girl, and in the hotel, with only occasional mundane hints in the rejected play and the ankle scene. Perhaps both him and the runaway girl have died in the crash.

Pay attention to the standpoint: a tale narrated by a bartender.

The drink is a metaphor for the storyline. Also, the 4th glass, the three sisters, the 3rd place. And the 4th free glass, as a 4th dimension.

Both Madison and Diana Lynn embody the movie's dreamlike, gentle style. Madison seems a bit drowsy, of a mawkish mildness, tender and animated, but almost dolt, and the storyline advances on tiptoes.

The bartender, played by James Dunn, himself almost uncanny, or maybe straight uncanny, takes Tayloe to the Academy. This is shown as a peculiar place, under any management, up until the odd party. So the big city appears in five Hypostases: the hotel, the stable's owners (the sisters), the show, the showbiz bureaucrats, and the Academy.

The Golden Horse Academy was creepy, and the going astray and coming apart of the machines was painful. The customers are dreamers: but what kind of dreamers? Defeated.

One of Madison's own lines forebodes his future career as a western gunman.
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Whimsical Film Doesn't Quite Gel
bkoganbing3 November 2011
Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven should by all accounts been a winner with the wonderful cast of character players that inhabit this film in support of young leads Guy Madison and Diana Lynn. But for whatever reason the film both in its quiet humor and some uproarious belly laugh humor just doesn't quite gel.

Future horror film director William Castle was in charge of this small independent production released by United Artists. Madison is a writer on a Dallas newspaper who's left a legacy of $6000.00 by his grandfather so he decides to go to New York and try his hand at writing a play. Along the way he picks up hitchhiker Diana Lynn and the two go to New York. Finding Manhattan a bit pricey even then, the two wind up staying in Brooklyn. Madison in a small hotel and Lynn with an adopted 'mother' Florence Bates in an apartment which she rents from three spinster sisters, Irene Ryan, Margaret Hamilton, and Moyna McGill.

Other than those I've mentioned such outstanding players as James Dunn, Jesse White, Clem Bevans, James Burke, Michael Chekhov, William Frawley and Lionel Stander are all here. Audie Murphy makes his screen debut in the beginning of the movie as a copy boy on Madison's paper and his scene is with Madison. That alone should make any devoted old film fan want to see Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven, but for the most part these folks are subdued in their characterizations.

And like a much better film It Happened In Brooklyn from the year before there is nary a mention of the Brooklyn Dodgers or Ebbetts Field. That's almost sacrilege.

You might want to look at Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven just to see this fabulous cast. But I think you'll walk away disappointed.
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No Sleep till Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven
LobotomousMonk24 February 2013
Fits and starts is no way to engage a film spectator. Undivided attention is volunteered and not guaranteed. Clearly with Texas-Brooklyn Castle and the producers forgot these tenets of spectatorship. The long talks in the car had me paying attention to the rear projection in hopes of a bit of action. Although, dry at first these talks later became more interesting through developing the characters aptly. That being said, characterization was ambiguous. I feel that many reviewers of this film will be more forgiving than myself because of how "gosh-darn" cute the couple was. Diana Lynn did play her character very well. If the film story has relevance it is mostly anachronistic in nature. There are plot digressions and long drawn out scenes that do little for forwarding the story. Some mobile framing creeps in, but for the most part Castle is doing nothing special to foster spectator interest. Coney Island makes an appearance again, but unlike in When Strangers Marry there is no creatively edited montage sequence to accompany the fun fair. Margaret Hamilton also makes an appearance but is effectively side-lined rendering her casting value nil. Castle would not make the same mistake when directing her in 13 Ghosts many years later. If you have other things to do, you can either not watch this film, or simply keep it running in the background.
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Fun Cast Lifts Up Routine Romantic Comedy
Michael_Elliott14 August 2018
Texas, Brooklyn & Heaven (1948)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Eddie Tayloe (Guy Madison) is working at a Texas newspaper when he inherits some money and decides to head off to New York City to try and become a playwright. On the ride there he meets Perry Dunklin (Diane Lynn) and agrees to give her a lift to the city. Once there they split up but soon they are going to be reunited.

William Castle, yes, that William Castle, directed this romantic comedy that borrows a few moments from IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, which is pretty remarkable when you think about it. That Capra film was released more than a decade earlier yet it was still being ripped off in 1948. With that being said, TEXAS, BROOKLYN & HEAVEN isn't a masterpiece or even a good movie but it is a pleasant entertainment that is worth watching.

The film is basically a romantic comedy that works in large part because of its two stars. I wouldn't say that Madison or Lynn gave great performances but both of them are just so cute and charming in the film that you can't help but enjoy watching them and their adventures as their characters slowly get back together. I thought the film did a good job with at least keeping you entertained by the story and Castle managed to keep the film moving at a nice pace and delivering some charm along the way.

The film is pretty basic in regards to its story as there's certainly nothing here that we haven't seen countless times before. As I said, the two leads are just so charming together that you don't mind going along for the ride. The supporting players include James Dunn, Florence Bates, Margaret Hamilton in a small role and Roscoe Karns in a brief bit. James Dean is said to be in the picture but I wasn't able to spot him.
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Preston Sturges zaniness executed with an Ed Wood flair
lizbass14 January 2002
Awards should be handed out for sitting through this film. The movie attempts to be, and has the look of, a zany romantic comedy, but everything in the production is just a little off. The cast is loaded with incredible actors--with the exception of Guy Madison, the rather wooden leading man--which just goes to show that even the best actors can't save a really lame script. Or maybe a little Guy Madison wore off on them all. You do get the sense that everyone is trying his best, but the directing by William Castle is stagnant and uninspired, the editing (at least on the print I saw) is choppy to the point of being incoherent at times, and the script...well, enough can't be said about that script. The dialogue, supposedly full of witty repartee, thuds. Entire scenes and plot twists seem pointless. At time it feels like something a fifth grade drama class might dream up. Cross Preston Sturges with Ed Wood, and I imagine the result would be something like Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven.
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SO many fun stars in here... needed better script
ksf-24 August 2018
Bill Frawley(Fred Mertz!) , Irene Ryan(Granny!), Margaret Hamilton(the Wicked Witch!), and Florence Bates, and Roscoe Karns. Gadz! who ISN'T in this film from United Artists ?? Boy meets girl on the road, and they are both running away from their jobs. Eddie (Guy Madison) quits when he finds out he has inherited some money from his dead uncle. Diana Lynn is "Perry", who left town when her brother gets married. They get in a car accident, and the whole plot-line is pretty silly, but you just have to go along with the ride. Liberal use of back drops. Lots of talking. and Lionel Stander is the hotel bell-hop.. he was "Max" in Hart to Hart. Flo Bates (the thief on the subway) was in SO many early films, and worked with just everyone..(LOVED her in Rebecca!) Margaret Hamilton is the prim and proper landord, who rents a room (the stable) to Perry. Picture is pretty good, but sound goes way up and way down, so be ready for CRAZY loud commercials. Bill Frawley (Fred Mertz, three years BEFORE I Love Lucy!) is the big shot agent, who doesn't like Eddie's work. a couple funny scenes, at Coney Island, and again when the ladies play cards. These folks were all masters at vaudeville. SO fun to see all these pros in comedy. the film is so understated... too bad the script is so slow. they all would have been even more amazing with a better script. it does go all over the place. but if you stick around, it's a lot of low key fun. This one was important, just for all the big names in here...
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