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

Thursday, February 6, 2014

BACK TO NATURE

Kenneth Howell and George Ernest as Jack and Roger
















BACK TO NATURE (1936). Director: James Tinling.

A third Jones Family programmer was rushed out in 1936 and proved a touch funnier than the previous installments. In this Father Jones (Jed Prouty) goes to a convention and is pressured into bringing the whole family along [a premise that was used again in The Jones Family in Hollywood and probably others]. He buys an $800 trailer and most of the family foolishly ride inside it during the trip. There's a scene involving the trailer and a cliff that prefigures The Long, Long Trailer, but is less elaborate. At Crystal Lake, Jack (Kenneth Howell) dates a loopy gal named Mabel (Dixie Dunbar, carried over from the previous film, Educating Father, but playing a supposedly different character), and the two are involved in a near-disastrous boat ride just as they were nearly in a plane crash in the last installment. Tony Martin [Here Come the Girls] plays a romantic interest for Bonnie (Shirley Deane) -- and plays it very well, with suave flair and assurance -- but the romance decidedly hits a snag. Excellent performances help put this over, although Dunbar and her character are rather irritating. You keep hoping she'll run into Jason Vorhees from that other Crystal Lake in Friday the 13th!

Verdict: Palatable hijinks with the Joneses. **1/2. 

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