Saturday, July 9, 2016

Rio Rita

Year 8, Day 191 - 7/9/16 - Movie #2,392

BEFORE: We're heading up to Massachusetts today for a family party, but as long as I take along a couple of DVDs with Abbott and Costello films, I should be fine.

As I said, I don't have the film where Bud and Lou go into the Air Force, so instead tonight they're going South of the Border to Mexico. 

THE PLOT: Doc and Wishey run into some Nazi agents, who want to smuggle bombs into the USA from a Mexican border hotel.

AFTER: This film starts out with Bud and Lou working in a pet shop in Texas, which does allow for a few dog-related puns ("How's Mrs. Brown's chow?" "I don't know, I never ate at her house...") but they're fired fairly quickly for their incompetence, so the next logical thing (?) for them to do is to jump into the trunk of a car they think is heading for New York. 

No such luck, though, the car's being driven by a famous singer, returning to his home town in Mexico.  This actor had such a thick accent however, it was nearly impossible for me to understand what he was saying. 

Singing was another problem - Robert Osborne on TCM introduced the film by pointing out that most Abbott and Costello films were made by Universal, but this one was made by MGM.  For some reason, this meant that the songs in the films were made in a more operatic style than, say, the ones in "Buck Privates", and the two leads both had so much vibrato in their style that I couldn't understand the lyrics of the songs, either.  So, I had trouble with the actors talking, and with the singing, leaving me clueless for major parts of the film. 

I also didn't really understand why the Mexican rangers just ride across the prairie, some while playing guitars, or what the Nazi agents were really up to.  Their plan involved radios disguised as apples, but I didn't see what the benefit of this deception was - everybody likes apples, right?  Why not make the radios look like something people don't want? 

Also, a NITPICK POINT is that radios - the kind used to transmit secret messages - are not the same as the type of radios that people use to listen to music and comedy shows - umm, I think.  This film doesn't seem to make a distinction between the two.  And when a bunch of animals, like donkeys and dogs, eat the "apples", it seems they all swallowed them whole, which animals don't do, because the radios continue to function, broadcasting music and shows from the animals' mouths.  So that's not how animals eat, and it's not how radios work.  By the time Costello's character appeared at the end with a line of donkeys who had eaten the radios, I didn't even understand what he was trying to accomplish, that's how far removed the plot got from real-world science.

Also starring Kathryn Grayson, John Carroll (last seen in "Go West"), Tom Conway (last seen in "Mrs. Miniver"), Barry Nelson (last seen in "Shadow of the Thin Man"), Peter Whitney, Patricia Dane.

RATING: 3 out of 10 code words

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