Comedy Classics, Vol. 1 [DVD]
- SKU: 13981998
- Release Date: 08/17/2004
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- Digitally mastered
- Interactive menus
- Scene index
- Digitally enhanced audio 5.1
The third of producer Hal Roach's Topper films, Topper Returns eschews the frothy "screwball" format of the first two in favor of an "old dark house" comedy-mystery. Roland Young returns as banker Cosmo Topper, who gallantly offers a lift to pretty hitchhikers Gail Richards (Joan Blondell) and Ann Carrington (Carole Landis). This results in a few baleful glances from Topper's wife, Clara (Billie Burke), but the worst is still to come. It seems that Gail and Ann are en route to a chilly old mansion, recently inherited by Ann and populated by all manner of sinister types, including old reliable menaces Dr. Jeris (George Zucco) and Lillian (Rafaela Ottiano). The only person whom the girls can trust -- or can they? -- is Ann' father (H.B. Warner). Unable to sleep in the creepy mansion, Gail suggests that she and Ann exchange bedrooms. This proves to be a major mistake when a mysterious, hooded assailant, intending to murder Ann, kills Gail instead. Seconds later, Gail's ghost arises from her body and heads to the nearby summer house where Mr. and Mrs. Topper are staying. Having had his fill of ghosts in the first two Topper films, Topper wants nothing to do with Gail's spirit, but she finally convinces him to help her identity her killer, and to rescue Ann from a similar fate. Some of the film's best moments belong to Eddie "Rochester" Anderson as Young's eternally frightened chauffeur (at one point, Anderson threatens to quit the Toppers and go back to Jack Benny)! More contrived and slapstick-oriented than the earlier Toppers, Topper Returns still works as a neat and entertaining comedy, even in its dreadful computer-colorized version. A decade later, Thorne Smith's "Topper" characters would be revived for a popular TV series, starring Leo G. Carroll, Anne Jeffreys, and Robert Sterling. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Hook, Line and Sinker
The comedy team of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey made their fourth film appearance of 1930 in the hectic comedy-melodrama Hook Line and Sinker. This time the boys are cast as itinerant insurance salesmen Wilbur Boswell and J. Addington Ganzy ("Not Pansy -- Ganzy, with a 'G'"!) After talking their way out of a traffic ticket, Wilbur and Addington make the acquaintance of penniless socialite Mary Marsh (Dorothy Lee), who is fleeing a wealthy marriage arranged by her mother Rebecca (Jobyna Howland). Falling in love with Mary himself, Wilbur talks Ganzy into helping her renovate a seedy hotel willed to her by her uncle. With the dubious aid of a decrepit bellboy (George F. Marion) and a nutty house detective (Hugh Herbert), the boys turn the hotel into a thriving enterprise. The plot thickens when a gang of jewel thieves and a band of bootleggers register at the hotel, followed in short order by Mary's mother and the girl's prospective fiance, lawyer John Blackwell (Ralf Harolde) -- who happens to be in league with the bootleggers! A wild gangland shoot-out and nocturnal chase caps this dated but amusing Wheeler and Woolsey vehicle. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Milky Way
Cast & Crew
- Al Bridge - Wild Bill Hitchcock
- Harold Lloyd - Harold Diddlebock
- Frances Ramsden - Miss Otis
- Georgia Caine - Bearded lady
- Raymond Walburn - E.J. Waggleberry