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

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Lou Costello and Mary Wickes
DANCE WITH ME, HENRY (1956). Director: Charles Barton.

The last film for the Abbott and Costello team -- and the very last film for Bud Abbott -- is a depressing and dull experience, more resembling a sitcom than anything else. Lou Henry (Lou Costello) is foster father to Shelley (Gigi Perreau) and Duffer (Rusty Hamer), and owns an amusement park with his partner, Bud Flick (Bud Abbott). Bud has gambling debts, which means that unsavory characters are coming to Lou's home hoping to find him and get money, a situation that doesn't sit well with social worker, Miss Bayberry (Mary Wickes), who threatens to take the children away. Later on Lou is accused of murdering the district attorney (Robert Shayne) when he's shot dead in the amusement park. There's also an unctuous priest (Frank Wilcox), a friendly cop (Robert Bice), and a rockster named Ernie (Ron Hargrave). Bud and Lou do their best with a third-rate script, but Wickes, strangely, seems defeated by the material or just couldn't get into playing a harridan. The children are talented and Hamer later wound up on Make Room for Daddy. Lou Costello followed this up solo with The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, which was even worse.

Verdict: The last -- and possibly the least -- of A & C's feature films. *1/2.

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