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

Thursday, January 9, 2014

THE JONES FAMILY IN HOLLYWOOD

George Ernest tries to console June Carlson
















THE JONES FAMILY IN HOLLYWOOD (1939). Director: Malcolm St. Clair.

The long-running Jones Family series [a total of 17 movies!] actually started with Every Saturday Night in 1936 when the family was named "Evers." (Presumably somebody with the same name objected because they became the more generic Jones Family with the next installment and thereafter.) This movie is about at the halfway mark for the series, and has the family traveling to Hollywood when Father Jones (a dithery and unappealing Jed Prouty) attends an American Legion convention, and everyone else, including the peppery Granny Jones (Florence Roberts), insists on going along. Lucy (June Carlson) thinks she's going to become a movie star thanks to the manipulations of sleazy actor Danny Regan (William Tracy of Terry and the Pirates), while girl-crazy Jack (Kenneth Howell) thinks he's fallen for an actress who only wants to use the handsome lug for research. The more studious brother, Roger, is played by the aptly-named George Ernest. At one point Roger, who is making a home movie, stands in for Lucy and shows her how to make love to her boyfriend, Tommy (Marvin Stephens), making it seem as if he has a crush on him. The actors are all adept, but the script is thin and silly and the laughs merely sporadic when they come at all.The only "name" in the cast is Spring Byington (Walk Softly Stranger), who is her usual self as Mrs. Louise Jones. Howell was also in Henry Aldrich for President and Junior G-Men. St. Clair also directed Jitterbugs with Laurel and Hardy.

Verdict: If nothing else a quaint curiosity of a long-forgotten series. **.

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