classic cornpone pre-Hee-Haw Country-Western film from Ron Ormond
I am old enough (just barely) to remember that brief shining moment in the mid-60s when you could go to your local drive-in and see films such as this. They were extensions of the old "rural humor" found in the earlier film series such as The Weaver Brothers and Elviry, or Judy Canova's many wonderful vehicles, except that they would feature performances by then-current country music stars. Until the 1950s, it was common for country music performers to feature comedy as part of their "show" (they were called "entertainers" back then with good reason!), so in a way these movies were an extension of a country performer's "show" but extended to feature length. This one stars the great much-underrated Ferlin Husky, who does the entire film in his inarticulate "Simon Crum" persona (and while watching the film, I wondered if Jim Nabors and/or Jim Varney had been influenced by Husky's "Crum" character). If you've never seen Crum or heard a record done in the Crum persona, I would describe him as a rural Caucasian Stepin Fechit. The way Crum slows down the action around him and forces all the other characters to play by HIS slow-as-molasses rhythm and eccentric timing is directly from the Fechit playbook. There's a plot about a local election and a redistricting dispute, but that's just a device to keep the comedy coming, and OF COURSE there is a "show" and a talent promoter which provides the excuse for the many fine musical performances from performers as diverse as "Whisperin" Bill Anderson (how I miss not seeing him regularly anymore!) and the late Skeeter Davis, but also greats such as Ray Price, Loretta Lynn, and George Jones. And Del Reeves, another singer who like Husky had a kind of persona into which he could slip (see his movies such as LAS VEGAS HILLBILLIES or HILLBILLIES IN A HAUNTED HOUSE), also has an acting role in the film as well as singing. And this film actually includes Ms. Country Comedy herself, Minnie Pearl! If you like old-fashioned country comedy from the pre-Hee Haw age-- and it's a shame that that world is pretty much gone now as Nashville has gone corporate and boring and bland--this film is a time capsule that takes you into that wonderful world. Lovers of REAL country entertainment should try to find a copy of this film anyway they can.
- Oct 24, 2004
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