Classic Comedy Teams Collection [3 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Abbott and Costello in Hollywood
The last of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's three MGM features, Abbott & Costello in Hollywood is a loose remake of Buster Keaton's Free and Easy. Bud and Lou play a pair of Tinseltown barbers who dream of becoming high-priced showbiz agents. Their first clients are Frances Rafferty and Robert Stanton, whose careers may be over before they begin when A&C manage to antagonize powerful producer Donald MacBride and stuck-up film star Carleton Young. The plot serves only as a clothesline upon which to hang several sidesplitting comedy routines: Abbott teaching Costello how to give a shave, Lou vainly trying to get a good night's sleep, a "stunt man" bit involving the tremulous Costello and hulking Mike Mazurki, and a wild roller-coaster finale. MGM contractees Lucille Ball, Jackie "Butch" Jenkins, Preston S. Foster and Robert Z. Leonard make guest appearances. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Gold Raiders
Filmed in a record five days, Gold Raiders was an attempt by producer Jack Schwartz to inaugurate a new western series starring old favorite George O'Brien. Adding novelty value to the proceedings are the Three Stooges: Shemp Howard, Larry Howard and Moe Howard. The action is fairly divided between O'Brien, who plays a frontier insurance investigator, and the Stooges, cast as itinerant snake-oil peddlers. The star and his comedian cohorts team up to squash a gang of thieves who've been hijacking gold-mine shipments. It is no surprise to anyone that the villain is local bigwig Sawyer (Lyle Talbot), but the plot does manage to sneak in quite a few interesting twists, including a red-herring character who turns out to be a spy for the baddies, and then turns out to be working for the good guys! For all their buffoonery, the Stooges perform heroically during the climactic shootout (even Larry)! Sheila Ryan co-stars as the granddaughter of bibulous doctor Clem Bevans, while Monte Blue enjoys a larger part than usual as the local mine owner. Gold Raiders was reissued in a shortened version (shorter even than its original 56-minute running time!) as {#The Three Stooges Go West}. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Meet the Baron
In this comedy, a man masquerading as the notorious Baron Munchausen and his partner arrive from the African jungles and create quite a stir in New York. Eventually he ends up a women's college involved in a number of interesting musical production numbers. Look for an early appearance by the "The Three Stooges." ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Lost in a Harem
Lost in a Harem is arguably the best of Abbott & Costello's trio of MGM films; it's certainly the silliest, with any number of nonsensical plot twists and sidesplitting gags. This time, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello play Pete and Harvey, two American magicians stranded in a mythical Arabian Nights kingdom with songstress Hazel Moon (Marilyn Maxwell). Our heroes and heroine become involved with the trials and tribulations of Prince Ramo (John Conte), who hopes to rightfully reclaim his throne from his evil usurping uncle Nimativ (Douglas Dumbrille). Alas, the villain is armed with a pair of hypnotic rings with which he forces everyone to do his bidding: his most anti-social act is to kidnap and hypnotize the entire Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra! Pete, Harvey, Ramo and Hazel risk death at every turn to thwart Nimativ, encountering a giant guard (Lock Martin, later to play the robot Gort in The Day the Earth Stood Still), a gibbering lunatic (Murray Leonard) and a bevy of harem beauties along the way. The film's sets and costumes, as well as the more elaborate musical numbers, are "borrowed" from the recently completed MGM superproduction Kismet. While the plot is for the birds, Lost in a Harem is saved by the fast-and-furious antics of Abbott and Costello. And as a bonus, this is the film in which Bud and Lou, accompanied by Murray Leonard, perform those deathless burlesque classics "Slowly I Turned" and "Mike's Place." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Nothing But Trouble
The second of Laurel & Hardy's two MGM starring films, Nothing But Trouble casts Stan and Ollie as, respectively, an unemployed butler and chef. Despite their inherent ineptitude, there's a wartime servant shortage, so the boys are hired by flighty dowager Mrs. Hawkley (Mary Boland), who hopes to impress visiting dignitaries from the kingdom of Orlandia. While purchasing food for Mrs. Hawkley's dinner party, Stan and Ollie meet a likeable child named Chris (David Leland) - who unbeknownst to them is Orlandia's young monarch-in-exile King Christopher. The boy's uncle, Prince Saul (Philip Merivale), intends to assassinate Chris and take the throne for himself, so the bumbling twosome set out on an improbable rescue mission to save Chris from the Prince's evil clutches. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Air Raid Wardens
Set in wartime (WW II), this film finds the fat guy, skinny guy comedy duo not much good at any attempted professions; they can't even enlist in the war effort. None of the services want them. But they do become air raid wardens, at least for a while, until their misadventures continue. They get all boozed up and are kicked off the air raid squad, too! But things get better when they thwart a spy ring and save the day. ~ Phillip Erlewine, Rovi


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