Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


IN SOCIETY (aka Abbott and Costello in Society/1944). Director: Jean Yarbrough.

"Oh, you men are all alike. I clean and slave all day and you bring in all the dust. Oh, you men!"  -- Lou referring to Bud.

Bud and Lou are plumbers who are called in to plug a leak in a grumpy millionaire's bathroom while a masquerade party goes on downstairs. In the film's funniest sequence, the boys wind up flooding the whole bedroom! This is a cute minor comedy wherein the fellows accidentally get invited to yet another society bash hosted by Mrs. Winthrop (Irene Dunne lookalike Margaret Irving). Her snooty daughter, Gloria (Ann Gillis), has set her cap for handsome rich dude Peter Evans (Kirby Grant), but he only has eyes for Lou's crush, Elsie (Marion Hutton), a cab driver who takes the fellows to fix the leak and is mistaken for a guest at the first party. Then there's a gangster who wants the fellows to help him rob the mansions they service, and some nonsense about an expensive painting that is stolen from the gathering. Marion Hutton was the older sister of Betty Hutton and only made a few films. Her acting is unimpressive but her singing is another story. Ann Gillis also nicely warbles a tune, accompanied by The Three Sisters, an undistinguished lookalike imitation of the Andrews Sisters; they only appeared in this one movie. The songs in In Society are especially pleasant: "No bout adout it ( I mean no doubt about it)"; "Rehearsing;" "My Dreams are Getting Better All the Time;" "What a Change in My Heart." An old vaudeville bit regarding the Susquehanna Hat Shop is amusing but goes on a little too long. Arthur Treacher plays a butler with his customary panache.

Verdict: Not top-notch A & C but it's fun. **1/2.

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