Saturday, January 15, 2011

Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) is the first entry in the David Thomson book, Have You Seen...? I deleted it from Netflix list a while back--in some kind of gloom. I also deleted the superhero cartoon movies I watch to cure burn out, plus the shrill political documentaries people talk about at work. I might oughtta sit for an hour and a half being told the pesticide industry lobby is more powerful than Nato, PEO, and 4H combined. I also need to do situps, pushups, meditate regularly, and cut back on salami and cambozola. There's about twenty trillion things we all ought to do. And enjoying Abbot and Costello once in a while may be have hopped back to the top of the list. And Batman Beyond.

Abbot and Costello are STILL funny, but meaner and more adult than I remember. When I watched their movies on Sunday afternoons (programmed alongside Shirley Temple, Three Stooges, Tarzan, episodes of Daktari, Rat Patrol, and KC Chief's football at its late 70's worst), Lou was the chubby punching bag and Bud was mean and impatient, and I got that. I didn't get all the bits about the ladies who pursued Lou, or that Bud might be frustrated with Lou’s dreamy, romantic attention deficit disorder. It make sense that when these guys are cast as clerks in a shipping and receiving department, Lou is gonna end up concussed under a pile of freight, getting smooched by a classy, good-looking lady. (And Bud says “I don’t get it.” And the lady says “You never will.”) Anyhow, this is a fun movie, good for a cozy night. Movies these days can do anything they want to do, technically, but Lou sitting on Frankenstein's lap in a shadowy castle is something that only Lou could do. The technical limits bring the personalities front and center, and the movie has to be put together right. (This makes me think of some over the top crapola like National Treasure, a massive, empty hunk of junk.) Lon Cheney Jr with crazy back-combed forehead wolfman fur? Might be more morbid in its awkwardness than anything in Fangoria. The gag with the revolving door in the castle was good too.

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