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The Best of Bud Abbott & Lou Costello, Vol. 3 [2 Discs] [DVD]

Release Date:08/03/2004
Eight classic comedies starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are collected on this special box set, which presents the films in simple but solid form. The Best of Abbott and Costello, Vol. 3 includes the films Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Mexican Hayride, Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Comin' Round the Mountain, Lost in Alaska, and Abbott and Costello Go to Mars. All eight features have been transferred to disc in the full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono. All of the movies are in English, with optional subtitles in Spanish and French. As a bonus, all of the films feature production notes and three of them feature original theatrical trailers.

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    Special Features

    • Closed Captioned


    Abbott & Costello in the Foreign Legion
    Bud Abbott and Lou Costello play wrestling promoters whose star attraction, Wee Willie Davis, skips town to return to his home in Arabia. While scouring the desert in search of Davis, Bud and Lou inadvertently purchase slave girl Patricia Medina, and with equal inadvertence join the Foreign Legion. In their own bumbling, inept fashion, our heroes manage to foil a desert uprising fomented by shiek Douglas Dumbrille and traitorous Legion commandant Walter Slezak. The film's highlights include an opening-scene parody of pre-rehearsed wrestling matches, a "mirage" routine capped by one of the hoariest vaudeville punchlines in history, and a runaway-jeep climax. All in all, however, Abbott & Costello in the Foreign Legion is one of the team's lesser efforts. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Lost in Alaska
    One reviewer of Abbott & Costello's Lost in Alaska summed up the proceeding in three pithy words: "Lost is right." While not A&C's worst film, it's several miles removed from their best. Cast as firemen in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, Bud and Lou rescue would-be suicide Tom Ewell. It turns out that Ewell is mooning over his former girl friend, saloon chanteuse Mitzi Green. It also transpires that Ewell has just come from Alaska, where he's been searching for $2 million in gold. Abbott and Costello accompany their new friend back to Alaska, where they're forced to dodge the bullets of Ewell's old enemies; foremost among these is plug-ugly Bruce Cabot. They find the gold, only to lose it all over again. The film's best scene occurs at the beginning, when Abbott, Costello and Ewell take turns saving one another from drowning. Otherwise, Lost in Alaska looks like a 2-reel comedy, clumsily stretched into an 8-reel feature. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man
    The best of Universal-International's followups to Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, Abbott & Costello Meet the Invisible Man casts Bud and Lou as mail-order private eyes. The boys champion the cause of boxer Arthur Franz, who has been framed for murder. Utilizing the formula created by Claude Rains in the original Invisible Man (1933), Franz vanishes before Dr. Gavin Muir's astonished eyes. Cloaked by invisibility, Franz talks Bud and Lou into helping him nab the real murderer, gangster Sheldon Leonard. A string of uproarious gags and comic setpieces is highlighted by a boxing-ring finale, wherein Lou, backed up by the invisible Franz, dukes it out with a behemoth prizefighter. A clever special-effects closing gag caps this delightful A&C vehicle. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff
    This Abbott & Costello vehicle was originally planned as a Bob Hope comedy titled Easy Does It. The Hope role is fairly evenly divided between Bud Abbott, as hotel house detective Casey Edwards, and Lou Costello, as bumbling bellhop Lou Costello. When a much-hated criminal attorney (Nicholas Joy) is murdered at a resort hotel, there's no shortage of suspects: in fact, practically every guest had an excellent motive for killing the victim. The suspects conspire to pin the killing on poor Freddie, but when he comes in possession of a valuable piece of evidence, he is slated for extermination himself. The more Freddie and his pal Casey try to stay out of trouble, the more trouble comes their way--especially when two more murders occur. The climax takes place in an underground cavern, where Freddie is nearly drowned by the hooded mystery killer. The film's title is one of the most misleading in movie history. Cast as a red-herring swami, Boris Karloff is not the killer (whose true identity is obvious from the outset, especially to veteran moviegoers). Though his footage is extremely limited, Karloff shares the film's funniest scene, in which he tries to hypnotize Costello into committing suicide ("You'll kill yourself if it's the last thing you do!). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Comin' Round the Mountain
    In this Abbott & Costello vehicle set in rural Kentucky, a magician (Lou Costello), his agent (Bud Abbott) and his sister (Dorothy Shay) unwittingly become involved in a down-home feud. ~ John Bush, Rovi

    Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
    It seems that Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), in league with a beautiful but diabolical lady scientist (Lenore Aubert), needs a "simple, pliable" brain with which to reactivate Frankenstein's creature (Glenn Strange). The "ideal" brain belongs to the hapless Lou Costello, whom the lady doctor woos to gain his confidence and lure him to the operating table. Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), better known as the Wolf Man, arrives on the scene to warn Costello and his pal Bud Abbott of Dracula's nefarious schemes. Throughout the film, the timorous Costello witnesses the nocturnal rituals of Dracula and the Monster, but can't convince the ever-doubting Abbott--until the wild climax in Dracula's castle, where the comedians are pursued by all three of the film's monstrosities. As a bonus, the Invisible Man (voiced by an unbilled Vincent Price) shows up for "all the excitement." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Abbott and Costello Go to Mars
    They don't really go to Mars, they go to Venus, but first they go to New Orleans. While working at a missile base, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello inadvertently launch a rocket ship with themselves aboard. After a wild ride around New York City (the Statue of Liberty ducks when the rocket heads her way), Bud and Lou land in the outskirts of New Orleans. The boys are convinced that they've reached Mars, and their faith in this supposition is affirmed when they come across several strangely costumed "creatures" (actually revellers at the Mardi Gras). Meanwhile, bank robbers Jack Kruschen and Horace McMahon stow away on A&C's rocketship. When Bud and Lou return, the crooks force them to make a quick getaway into outer space. After several days of weightlessness, the four space travellers land on Venus, a planet populated by the gorgeous winners of the Miss Universe contest (including Anita Ekberg). Venusian queen Mari Blanchard falls in love with Costello, only to order him and his companions to return to earth when Lou proves to be unfaithful. Reportedly, this bizarre melange of sci-fi and slapstick was based on a story by Charles Beaumont, who received no screen credit (it's worth noting that Beaumont's later Queen of Outer Space boasts a remarkably similar plotline). Long considered the team's worst film, Abbott and Costello Go to Mars ("and about time!" quipped the New York Times' TV-movie reviewer) is rather likeable in its own incoherent way. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Mexican Hayride
    Cole Porter's Broadway musical Mexican Hayride was optioned by Universal in the mid-1940s, then remained in "development hell" until 1948. By the time the property made it to the screen, the entire Porter score had been removed, and the play's original star Bobby Clark was replaced by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The story takes place South of the Border, where American fugitive from justice Joe Bascom (Costello) searches for con man Harry Lambert (Abbott), for whom Bascom had been a fall guy. Also in Mexico is Joe's hometown-sweetheart Mary (Virginia Grey), now known as Montana, the country's foremost female bullfighter. Joe catches up with Harry at the bull arena, where Montana is about to choose the "Amigo Americano" in a publicity scheme cooked up by Harry. When she spots Joe in the crowd, Montana (angry at our tubby hero for bilking her out of her life savings -- it was actually Harry's doing), furiously throws her hat at him. When Joe catches the hat, he's elected Amigo Americano and extended every hospitality that Mexico can afford. Sensing yet another opportunity to make a dishonest dollar, Harry exploits Joe's newfound celebrity to promote a phony gold-mining scheme. The gorgeous Dagmar (Luba Malina), Harry's partner in crime, romances Joe to secure his cooperation. Somehow all of this ends up back in the bull ring, with poor Joe facing a very belligerent "el toro." A bit too plot-heavy for Abbott & Costello, Mexican Hayride still has several choice moments, including a priceless verbal exchange involving gold ore ("gold or what?") and a "Mother Lode." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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