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

Sunday, May 25, 2008


THE NAUGHTY NINETIES (1945). Director: Jean Yarbrough.

Lou Costello is Sebastian Dimwiddle, a stage worker on a theatrical river boat, and Bud Abbott is romantic ham actor Dexter Broadhurst (however the boys' friendly/unfriendly relationship is the same as ever). The owner of the river boat, Capt. Sam (Henry Travers) comes afoul of a group of corrupt gamblers led by the serpentine Bonita Farrow (Rita Johnson). After a crooked card game Sam discovers that Bonita and her slimy pals own 75 % of the riverboat, and once on board they open a casino that fleeces all the customers. Naturally A&C do their best to get their captain out of the jam. The fellows do their "Who's on First?" routine, and there are other very amusing sequences. A note of black comedy is introduced in a scene when Sebastian thinks the cook is making hamburgers out of chopped up cats when he's really preparing catfish. When he sticks his fork in his hamburger, a cat under the table lets out a screech. Johnson is quite good as the lady ringleader, and Joe Sawyer, playing one of her henchmen, has a funny sleep-walking scene. Alan Curtis and Lois Collier round out the cast portraying, respectively, an associate of Bonita's and the riverboat's pretty singer, Caroline.

Verdict: Good-natured romp with some funny stuff in it. ***.

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