Abbott and Costello
ONE NIGHT IN THE TROPICS
I don't know if this is the right place to post this or if anyone is interested in this but taking a break from DOCTOR WHO, I decided to watch one of the most obsure ABBOTT AND COSTELLO movies, ONE NIGHT IN THE TROPICS, their very first movie. The first thing to notice is that they are not the main stars, big mistake, as when they were, their movies saved UNIVERSAL studios. They are actually cast as, believe it or not, lovable villains or rather aides to the villain, played by I Love Lucy's Fred Mertz himself William Frawley, who's pretty funny in this as their boss.
Two or three things UNIVERSAL (and other studios) saddled Abbott and Costello with: hair raising drawn out and very long musical numbers and dance numbers AND God help us, boy-girl subplots. Here, it is A and C that are the sub plot as here, they are saddled with not one, but two boy girl subplots that are the plots and endless musical numbers. At times, Bud and Lou are drawn into the musical numbers and that makes them almost bearable but not quite. The movie itself is well filmed, well made, and well put together but totally boring as a situation comedy/love story. That said, the actors are all nice personalities and probably noticable from other UNIVERSAL movies like the Mummy movies and stuff like that.
There's only about 20 to 25 minutes of A and C in this movie, which is only about one hour and 15 minutes or so. Thankfully movies back then had the niceness not to be three hour long opuses that made our rears hurt when they were over. What there is of A and C is pretty funny. All their brilliant routines are sort of shoved in with another character, a minor one usually, watching. They do the WHO'S ON FIRST, the money routine where Costello gets his pay for one year: one dollar, the Jonah and the Whale interupted story, the mustard was made for the hot dog routine, and a bunch of other shorter stuff. Each routine seems like an abbreivated version and yet they are still funny. They had been doing these routines for years on radio and before that in vaudeville and burlesque. Truth be told, the best of these routines, the same ones and others are perfected by the time of their two season series THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW and are funniest there.
There's not much to recommend this movie to be honest but if you fast forward past the dull bits and only stop when Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are on screen, you won't be dissapointed. I'm sure their comedy is not for everyone but I've yet met anyone who didn't really like them in some way. This movie is part of a collection of all their UNIVERSAL movies. There were others that are released separately because they were either independently made (THE NOOSE HANGS HIGH) or were from MGM (ABBOTT AND COSTELLO IN HOLLYWOOD, AFRICA SCREAMS, RIO RITA (which may not have been released either EVER), LOST IN A HAREM, A AND C MEET CAPTAIN KIDD) or were NEVER released because they, too, had another copyright (Damon Runyon's IT AIN'T HAY). Fortunately, fans have made most of these available some other way.
It is interesting to see how A AND C are introduced in this, their first movie. We hear their voices before we see them. It's a way of introducing them from radio to the movies. The same thing might be said of their next movie BUCK PRIVATES, which is one of the movies that saved UNIVERSAL (and I think made almost as much money as GONE WITH THE WIND)!