I recently had the great pleasure to enjoy one of the most exquisite perks in the teaching field, a snow day. They come in the depths of winter, some much anticipated, a precious few unseen and even more pleasurable, but they are jewels of time given over by Mother Nature and so must be used to best effect. I used mine to watch Abbott and Costello movies, especially those in which the classic comedy team match up against some of Universal's mighty monsters. Here are my results as along with Bud and Lou, I too meet the monsters!
This is a romp of the grandest order, with delightful gags and truly amazing pacing. It's almost never a drag, even by modern standards and the spectacle of the sets is keen to the nth degree. For monster fans there are plenty of Wolfman moments with three four transformations, lots of Dracula allure with his changes into a bat handled with some slick animation, and scuds of Frankenstein action with Glenn Strange offering up another glimpse of the sympathetic monster. The Abbott and Costello gags are by and large pretty funny, so it scores high on that side as well. The Invisible Man puts in an appearance before this one is over and that's nifty since he's the focus of the next move.
Chased by police detective Roberts (William Frawley) Tommy uses the formula and then becomes increasingly erratic as the story unfolds. To prove his innocence he convinces the boys to go undercover as a boxer and his manager to draw out the hoodlum (Sheldon Leonard) who framed him. Along the way a dame named Boots (Adele Jergens) who tries to seduce Lou to get him to throw a fight. There is much double-crossing and gags, but overall very little aside from a few great special effects.
There's a lot of a grand chase sequences in this one and really fun gags. But mostly it's the brisk pace, which after a somewhat sleepy beginning rarely lets up. It's the second best of these four flicks by a large margin, which in no small part because it attempts to mimic the first one. Karloff is typically great.
Chased now by the Cairo police they also run afoul of Madame Rontru (Marie Windsor) and her henchmen (Michael Ansara and Dan Seymour). There's a lot of running, and inexplicably lots of dancing as the movie often stops for simple stage acts to take off. We have a dance troup or two and a lounge singer (Peggy King) who entertain while the movie hovers in abeyance. It's a movie with moments but not a success. The Mummy is pretty good but the story gets out of control as its explosive ending indicates.
All in all, these are monsters exceedingly well met and a snow day exceedingly well spent.