“ Genre: Comedy / Theatrical Release: 1954 / Universal, suitable for all / Director: Charles Lamont / Actors: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lynn Bari, Fred Clark ... / VHS Tape released 2003-01-27 at 4 Front Video / Features of the VHS Tape: Black & White, PAL „
Abbott & Costello were not only amongst the biggest grossing stars of the 40's but also had successful careers on Radio and TV all the way through to the end of the 50's. Even after that they still had enough popularity to have an animated series in the 60's.
Bud Abbott was the Ernie Wise/Oliver Hardy of the duo. The straight man who was the brains behind every stupid situation eh talked Costello into.
Lou Costello was the funny man, the stupid imbecile who was short fat and loveable. He walked into every trap that was laid for him and never learnt.
Together they made the perfect double act and after building their name in the music halls the move to the movies was almost a foregone conclusion.
They will always be remembered for their little wordplay sketches, especially 'Who's On First' and a movie career spanning decades and more than 25 films.
Abbott and Costello Meet The Keystone Cops is one of the comedy duos later films, having been released in 1954, and is on par with a lot of their films made towards the end of the career, i.e. not that great at all, which is a shame as the idea behind Meet The Keystone Cops actually shows a fair bit of promise.
Abbott and Costello play Harry and Willie, two friends who never have much money in their pockets. When we first see them Willie (Costello) is holding $5000 belonging to his Aunt. He is meant to be taking it to the bank for her but Harry, seeing an opportunity suggests that they should invest the money in their own film studio, the newfangled film business making lots of money right now, and he knows just the man who is selling one.
Of course this all goes wrong and the duo are soon travelling across country to Hollywood, trailing the man who conned them out of 'their' money.
Once they arrive in the movie making centre of the world Willie and Harry soon find themselves caught up in the movie making business while trying to find the conman and the $5000.
Abbot & Costello Meet The Keystone Cops is a misleading title. Yes the comedy duo do meet their illustrious predecessors in the world of movie mirth making but the world famous silent comedians only appear in the climactic chase sequence. It does make for an amazing charge around the countryside as A&C and the Keystone Cops rush around like maniacs trying to capture the villains of the piece, both thinking the others are real Police.
The setting of the movie is the heyday of the silent movies, an era where movie making is still a novel idea and, going by the plot of this movie, a seat of your pants experience.
This isn't a novel idea, making a movie about making a movie has been done before but it is quite a novel one for a comedy, even more so for a double act. It works especially well with A&C because of their characters. The clever one who is the brains behind the good natured idiot act works very well in this environment. It gives a lot of scope for all sorts of misadventures for Harry to get Willie involved in.
Unfortunately though the story is not as good as it could have been and certainly not one of A&C's best. It is ok but doesn't really reach rip roaring levels of laughter. Still at least it doesn't hit boredom levels either.
This is mainly due to a couple of top quality A&C routines. One near the beginning of the film involving a passerby get the wrong end of a conversation between our loveable duo and another involving Costello dressed as a policeman, Abbott dressed as a burglar and a real policeman. Their plan to get info is complicated by the real cop and the short scene reaches almost farce like levels of confusion and mistaken identities.
Without these two routines and the silent movie making setting MTKC would have been interminable boring, as it is it just about reaches passable. Worth seeing if nothing else is around to watch or maybe if you have a love for silent movies.
Apart from The Keystone Cops there is also a guest appearance by Mack Sennett, the creative genius of many a silent movie himself. This is a nice little touch to add to the whole silent movie setting.
I guess if you are a long standing fan of Abbott and Costello then you will get a modicum of enjoyment out of this, as I did, but not much more than that.
It is a shame that their career ended up with stuff like this as a lot of their mid career stuff is very good and still funny even today. Still I guess that even the top stars of any era have to fall out of favour eventually, apart from Clint Eastwood!
Abbott And Costello Meet The Keystone Cops Kops.
Bud Abbott was born in1895 in New Jersey, USA. Surprisingly Lou Costello was born 1906 also in New Jersey, USA. They had both toured in 'Burlesque' but had only limited success until teaming up in 1936. But it wasn't until 1940 until they where signed by 'Universal' and went on to make their first movie 'Night in the Tropics'. By 1950 there Star was starting to fade.
Also, not all was well between the boys, as at times throughout their career together, Bud had a 60/40 split on their earnings and this had always irked Lou. Later it would surface and eventually along with the drinking and gambling and being chased by huge Tax bills, they eventually split in 1957.
Sadly Lou Costello died 2 years later in 1959. Bud Abbott however lived until 1974!
Their work will remain timeless as is the way with innocent and genuinely funny comedy.
the movie starts with Bud and Lou being conned into buying an entire film studio by a very slick con man.
they soon realise they have been duped and so follow the trickster to Hollywood where he is using a false name and pretending to be a film director whilst embezzling the pay-role.
There then follows the usual Abbott and Costello madness and mayhem. They end up getting involved with a leading actress and soon the Trickster, Gorman, is setting the cast of the movie and the security at the studio after them.
Eventually the police are called and guess who turns up the barmiest bunch of policemen ever to have adorned the silver screen. Things go far chaotic to outright insanity. The bit where a squirrel is popping in and out of a loaf of bread is just marvellous.
Explosions, fights and a car chase all ensue until the bad guy is caught, more by luck than skill. the cops falling off and on the police wagon is pure Keystone.
Kids and adults alike, today, could watch it with no concerns of offence.
Never scary enough to scare the kids. So funny that the scary bits are laughable.
Bud and Lou are in the zone with plenty of slaps and puns.
They had a tendency to play out a joke, then repeat it, then repeat it whilst each time building the humour higher and higher right up till and explosive crescendo.
Whilst another ploy they utilised was to use pathos and have a slow burn to it.
You know that the ending is, of course, a happy one.
This is a cracking movie and worth a watch, true it's their standard stuff but that in its self is still very funny.
Format: Black & White
Run Time: 75 minutes
Amazon Price £3.80