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

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Florence Roberts, Spring Byington, and Joan Davis
TOO BUSY TO WORK (1939). Director: Otto Brower.

"If you sent her to Ripley I bet he wouldn't believe it!" -- Granny Jones on Lolly.

Mayor Jones (Jed Prouty) is alarming his wife (Spring Byington) and mother (Florence Roberts) because he's volunteering for too many duties as mayor and neglecting his drug store business to the point where he may lose it. Mrs. Jones decides to wake him up by neglecting her own duties and starring in a little theater production supervised by her old friend, Marge (Marjorie Gateson of Lily Turner). Added complications are the arrival of a niece, Lolly (Joan Davis of Around the World), who becomes the maid in exchange for food and board. Lolly has an eye on policeman Gilligan (Irving Bacon, Ethel's father on I Love Lucy) who loves her cooking but is preoccupied with the capture of safe cracker "Cracker" McGurk (Chick Chandler of Spy Train). Then the mayor discovers that his fellow board members have been behaving unethically and some money turns up missing ... Too Busy to Work is probably the funniest of the Jones Family films, with a good script and many amusing lines and situations to keep it consistently entertaining. Granny is especially acerbic in this entry. The entire cast, including Ken Howell and George Ernest, is top-notch, and Spring Byington certainly gets her chance to shine.

Verdict: Delightful! ***.

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