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

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Robert Hutton and Florence Marly
GOBS AND GALS (1952). Director: R. G. Springsteen.

At an isolated military base Sparks (George Bernard) and Salty (Bert Bernard) have cooked up a scheme in which they use their captain's picture to get women to send him what today we would call "care packages." Captain Smith (Robert Hutton of The Vulture) has no idea of this, nor of the fact that the two buddies have opened a store at camp to sell all of the goodies the ladies think they're sending Smith. When the men all return to the U.S., Smith finds himself mobbed at the dock by dozens of lustful ladies who plaster him with hugs and kisses as his fiancee, Betty (Cathy Downs of The Dark Corner), watches in dismay. Now while Smith is nice-looking, he is not a famous singer or matinee idol, so you'd think that Cathy would understand that something strange is going on, maybe a practical joke, but instead she instantly cancels their engagement. Smith pursues Cathy to a train upon which she and her father, a senator (Emory Parnell), are travelling and tries to mend fences with her even as Sparks and Salty, the men responsible for all of his troubles, are supposed to guard a trunk of papers that are also on board. During the ride they encounter a beautiful Russian spy, Sonya (Florence Marly of Queen of Blood); a cute little kid and trouble maker named Bertram (Tommy Rettig); a termagant (Minerva Urecal) who thinks CPO Donovan (Gordon Jones) keeps stealing her purse; not to mention the peppery and dithery conductor (Olin Howlin). Gobs and Gals is a silly but often amusing movie with some good performances and a highly interesting cast. Brothers George Bernard and Bert Bernard were an American comedy team who never rose to any particular prominence -- they appeared in only four films --  and while they aren't bad, the movie could have used the presence of Bud and Lou or Lewis and Martin. Jean Willes, Donald MacBride, and Marie Blake are also in the movie in smaller roles. Marly is rather reminiscent of "Natasha" of the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show which debuted several years later.

Verdict: Amiable train farce. **1/2.

No comments: