Friday, January 14, 2022

T-shirt to inspire

 

3 of them I've already reviewed.


Plan 9 From Outer Space

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman 

and

Reptilicus 

But I hope to get the blog started in overdrive this year to make up for last year. So I have plans to locate these and others.  But it was cool finding this shirt on Amazon.

 

Quiggy

Monday, January 3, 2022

The Creature (re)Generation

 


So, I was browsing old drive-in ads on Pinterest and found this in an archive.



And I thought, what better way to get a new year's start on trying to get back into this blog.  Both movies have been given the MST3K treatment, so I knew going in that both were pretty shoddy and potentially laughable.  

 

Both movies are a product of the  60's and brought to the US under the auspices of American International, the giant of the drive-in movie world.  Both movies are also originally produced in foreign markets.  The Green Slime came to us from Japan and Reptilicus came to us from Denmark proving that low-budget schlock is not strictly an American product.

 

As far as The Green Slime is concerned it's a co-production with AIP and Toei studios in Japan, but as near as I could tell there isn't one single Japanese actor or actress in the entire production. (Unless thos green slime creatures are really Japanese people in the costumes. At least the Danish produced Reptilicus is handled by an all-Danish cast (none of whom you will recognize (unless you are a devotee of Danish and West German cinema,

 

Both are definitely the kinds of movies that I originally started this blog to bring to light, low-budget drive-in fare that exemplifies some of the main tropes of 50's and 60's drive-in cinema; sub-par acting, ridiculous dialogue and cardboard characters that have no depth.  But both are entertaining in their own right if you like that sort of thing.





The Green Slime (1968):

 

"Is it something in your head?

Will you believe it when you're dead?

GREEN SLIME!" 

(lyrics from the theme to The Green Slime)


The opening song is an indication of what we are in for.  Sounding (to me) kind of like the psychedelic rock that was prominent at the time, it is pretty catchy, but the lyrics are just plain weird.  I was reminded of Iron Butterfly, myself.

 

This movie starts out with a theme similar to later big budget movies you are familiar with (Armageddon and Deep Impact, both from 1998).  Early on one of the characters on a space station, the Gamma 3, mutters somewhat reluctantly, that "Nothing ever happens around here."


Of course, you know from experience that that's when something exciting does happen. Because the next line is another character who says "I'm getting a lot of interference...".  Which of course is is when the $^:+ hits the fan.


The team on the space station has discovered an asteroid which as somehow veered of course of it's standard trajectory and his headed on a collision course with, you guessed it, Earth.  And it's going to cause a butt load of damage if it hits.


The commander of the space station, Commander Vince Elliott (Richard Jaeckel) relays the information back to Earth and his superior decides the situation warrants him calling out from retirement an officer, Commander Jack Rankin (Robert Horton) to go up and take over the reins on a mission to destroy the asteroid.

 



 

Vince

Jack  
 

 

 

 

Warning, Will Robinson! Danger! It seems that Rankin and Elliott are not the best of friends, and the problem mainly stems from the fact that Elliott stole Rankin's girl away from him.  And Dr. Lisa Benson (Luciana Paluzzi) just happens to be on the space station with Elliott.

 

Lisa

(BTW, if she looks familiar, her most famous role, for me anyway, was as one of the Bond girls in Thunderball.)


The egregious subplot of a love triangle is only one of the more ridiculous parts of this movie.  What happens when the crew lands on the asteroid to blow up the thing constitutes what makes up the bulk of this movie.  It seems there is some kind of green slime buried under the rock where they plant the explosives.  And one small loogie sized bit of it gets on one of the crewmen's clothes and is brought on board the space station.


The green slime stuff as the ability to regenerate itself at an alarming rate and eventually becomes a one-eyed tentacled creature that rampages over the space station.  And it's regenerative powers means that every time it is hit and a piece of it comes off, that piece regenerates into another creature.  (Which explains why the movie poster says "The Green Slime ARE coming" not is coming.)

 

GREEN SLIME!

 


The conflict between Rankin and Elliott escalates as each has ideas as to how the invader should be addressed.  And of course there is the ubiquitous scientist on board< Dr. Hans Halverson (Ted Gunther) who advocates keeping one alive so it can be studied.  Just think what it could mean to science and posterity to understand such a creature (that could multiply itself and cover the Earth in just a few days) ...how can we pass up that?


Eventually of course the slime creatures overwhelm the entire space station and the inevitable must happen.  "What's the inevitable?" you ask?


Why, of course, the conflict between Elliott and Rankin over whether the space station should just be destroyed so the creatures can't do any havoc on terra firma.  And he-man heroes that they are, only one can win that battle...


A final note: The Green Slime was a directorial effort by Kinji Fukasaku whose other efforts including being on of the directors of the Japanese sequences of Tora! Tora! Tora!, the classic American-Japanese extravaganza that depicted the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.







Reptilicus (1961):

Danish miners are drilling in Lapland for copper and discover something unique on the drill bit when it is pulled from the Earth.  Skin and blood!  They also discover a piece of a prehistoric reptile, a tail, which they naturally take to the local scientific institute.


The scientists decide that the best possible solution for their new find is to keep it frozen.Which they manage to do up until someone fails to keep an observation on the controls and the freezing unit fails.  And you know that's not good.


The tail begins rapidly regenerating until gradually the monster has regenerated itself into a complete prehistoric behemoth which the scientists have dubbed reptilicus.  And because it is all powerful (and it is needed to keep the plot going) it escapes.  

 


 


But before the action goes into full swing we are treated to a travelogue of modern day Denmark for some reason.  And briefly a musical number with a song called "Tivoli Nights" none of which has anything to do with the plot.


A lot of the action seems to be culled from clips of maneuvers culled from the archives of the Danish army as the try to get a line on Reptilicus.  But they are making a BIG mistake.  They keep trying to blow it up.  Until one of the scientists (a woman, who is apparently smarter than all the men put together) points out that if they blow it up it will scatter parts of Reptilicus all over the countryside, each with the potential of regenerating into another Reptilicus.


The dialogue and the acting are on par with some of the worst American made low budget flicks of the era.  It makes one wonder how any of these actors ever had a career beyond this.  But they did, albeit, as stated before, entirely in the Danish and west German cinema.


The script was written by Ib Melchior, who not only wrote the story that inspired one of my favorite films Death Race 2000, but was also the director of The Angry Red Planet and The Time Travelers, two films previously reviewed on this blog.


Reptilicus is pretty laughable.  I've read that he resembles a marionette from Howdy Doody, but my opinion is he looks kind of like a reject from Jim Henson's Muppets.  He spits green vomit which is dubbed acid slime by the characters although we never see it hit anything, and the movie never even shows the aftermath of what damage it has done, so we can only take the characters words for it that it does any kind of acid damage.  But it does knock over a few buildings.

 

It has wings, but we never see it fly.  One wonders why it evolved wings in the first place.  Maybe the producers intended to include a few sequences in which the creature battled the Danish Air Force but the Air Force declined to get itself involved in this schlock...

 


One can only thank God that the Danes only made one foray into this giant monster genre.  They were probably better at sticking with dramas like Babette's Feast.


Well folks, time to fire up the old Plymouth (which is still working even after the Covid panic).  Drive safely


Quiggy.




 

 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Is That a Banana in Your Pocket?

 

 

 


 

Come one, come all! See cardboard buildings demolished with a single swipe! Thrill to a gigantic ape doing an interpretive dance to the soundtrack! Look in awe at cheesy attempts at 3d effects from a film that isn't actually filmed in 3D!  Be astounded by the numbers of fleeing citizens that are able to pack the back end of a pickup or a bus!

 

 

 

 


 


A*P*E (1976)


In 1976 one pf the big blockbusters from Hollywood was Dino DeLaurentis' remake of the classic King Kong.  As per usual, there was production of cheesy low-budget knockoffs that attempted to cash in on the blockbuster, and this being no exception, a company in Korea tried to beat DeLaurentis to the punch.  Hence A*P*E.  


A*P*E had all the elements of King Kong (except production values, special effects, good name actors, etc.)  The biggest name on this film was actually Joanna de Verona (who later made her name as Joanna Kerns).  This was her first feature film (and apparently her last).  She must have been so devastated by the film that she transitioned to TV and for most of the rest of her career was only in TV productions.  Her big role was as the mom in the TV series Growing Pains.


A*P*E starts out whiz bang as the title character is already captured and being transported as the show pony (ape) for an attraction in a theme park.  The people on the boat transporting the ape are confident that the drugs used to keep the ape subdued will last for 5 0r 6 days.  (boy are they wrong.)


The ape escapes in the water and does battle with a large shark (a la Jaws) then goes ashore where he begins to demolish every cardboard building in site. The US Army, led by Col. Davis (Alex Nicol) originally doubts the rumors of a giant ape, then dismisses it as being some publicity stunt being done by a local film production company.


The film company is on hand with its current star Marilyn Baker (De Verona/Kerns).  Marilyn's lover, a reporter named Tom Rose (Rod Arrants) is on hand as a romantic interest and the resident hero.  

 


 

 

 

Eventually both the Americans and the Korean army are convinced that the ape is real and make attempts to try to capture it before it destroys the entire cardboard countryside.

 


 


Of course, since this movie is trying to cash in on the blockbuster, the ape eventually finds and falls in love with Marilyn and captures her.  Leaving Tom to try to rescue his enamorata as best he can.





About a third of the movie is watching the guy in the cheap ape suit do some kind of interpretive dance in the wilderness while being attacked by critics in helicopters who think his show ought to be shut down before it makes it through its first run.

 


 


Part of the fun in watching the film is looking for the zippers that show up occasionally in the ape suit.  Ed Wood would have been proud of how the production company made use of the films interminable scenes of found footage of Army maneuvers as scenes of the Army trying to move into position to capture/kill the ape.

 

There seems to be some rumor that the film was originally released in #D, but maybe it was originally intended that way but they ran out of money.  There are several scenes, especially towards the end, where things come at you on screen, Styrofoam  rocks flying at the screen and gun barrels pointed directly at the screen.


The best scene is probably the one many people have seen if they've seen anything from this movie, the ape shoots the finger at the helicopters trying to shut down his one ape dance show.






Well folks that's it for this time.  Drive safely. 

Quiggy




Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Joe Bob Briggs and Me

 Been a long time, folks.  This confounded crisis has taken the motivation out of me something fierce.  No, I haven't been sick, not even one day.  That might have given me the inspiration to watch a ton of movies and do reviews.  No, my problem was just an apathy for doing much of anything.  My apologies to those who have been waiting.  I plan to get going again in the next week or so on movies.  But for now I will tantalize you with a book review.






Joe Bob Briggs Goes to the Drive-In (1987) and Joe Bob Briggs Goes Back to the Drive-In (1990):


In 1982, a college friend of mine invited me to move in with him and help deliver The Dallas Times Herald to residents in a small north Texas town.  Delivering a paper a few hours a day was a nice way to earn a living back in those days.  Especially since I was entirely unmotivated to do much of any real strenuous work.

One of the benefits of delivering the paper was there was always an extra copy or two to take home.  I admit I wasn't much interested in the world at that time.  But I did enjoy reading the supplements about culture.  On Fridays the weekend section always had reviews of movies that were currently in release.  And one of the features was a section written by one of the writers, John Bloom.  He adopted a persona named Joe Bob Briggs to write about the drive-in movies of the day.

Drive-ins, in case you are a neophyte to the halcyon days of bygone years, were these monolithic venues that showed movies outdoors.   And the typical fare was not exactly Oscar material.  If you've seen some of my earlier work you know I have addressed some pretty outre movies (such as the one I wrote last year for my 5th anniversary post; Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman  and The Amazing Colossal Man).  

Drive-in movies were pretty much horror, sci-fi, and crime run rampant types of movies.  Joe Bob Briggs would review these movies, giving them a rating of 1 to 4 stars, depending on a number of elements that were present in the movies (naked breasts counts, the amount of blood that flowed, how much kung fu was used, car chases, dead body counts etc.)

The great thing about Joe Bob Briggs' column was also the insight he gave in his own private life.  None of the people were any more real than Joe Bob was (he was all in the mind of his creator, Bloom, after all.)  But the stories were funny in their own way.  You ought to know, however, that Joe Bob Briggs would probably never get in print in today's repressive PC society, however.  He even had his own run-ins with the "high sheriffs" (the editors) even in his own day.  Reading Joe Bob today is still a guilty thrill for those of us who can appreciate his wit, though.

Joe  Bob got into trouble finally with his un-PC attitude when he made some disparaging remarks and got canned at The Dallas Times Herald, but he just went underground.  He continued on as syndicated columnist for several years afterwards and even transitioned to film, hosting a midnight drive-in show on TV where they would air some of those same types of flicks on TNT.  

I used to have a letter that Joe Bob sent to me.  I wrote to him once back in 1983, and he responded with a personal letter. (For all I know it may have been a form letter he sent out to all his correspondents.  I can't remember, and I no longer have the letter; it got lost in all the moves I made over the years.)


Anyway, the two books listed above are a collection of his newspaper columns over the years that he wrote it.  You get some insight into various hangers-on in his world, including his women (Vida Stegall, Cherry Findlay, ) and his buddies (like Chubb Fricke and Rhett ).  Plus a review of a current movie in release that week that was of such quality that it could only been shown at drive-ins.  (Joe Bob called the normal fare "indoor bullstuff", ie your current Oscar eligible movies.)  Nothing at the drive-in would qualify for even being considered Oscar material.  That, of course, didn't deter Joe Bob.  He even created his own award, the Hubbies (a hubcap with the award engraved upon it) for such accomplishments as Best Breasts, Best Kung-Fu etc.

Both of these books are, sadly, out-of-print.  Amazon has copies going for hundreds of dollars each.  They are obviously collectors items.  I happen to have bought both when they were still within my budget (the list price for the first run).  And, no, before you ask, you can't borrow mine.  Although if you happen to be visiting I'm not so anal that I won't let you browse them... 

I appreciate the kinds of movies that were the steak and potatoes of Joe Bob and his regular readers. And when I finally get back to writing this blog I plan on getting back to the drive-in fare for which this blog was originally created.  In the meantime, haunt your local bookstores or more freedom minded libraries to see if you can find these gems.


Quiggy

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Teenage Hormones in Hyperdrive






This is my entry in the Spooky Classic Movie Blogathon hosted by K N Winiarski Writes






"Holy crap, Little Joe!  Get  a grip!"

"My God!  Pa! What are you doing with that girl?"

"Jonathan, I think we need to talk...

(NOT quoted from Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven...)

Whether you were a fan of Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie or Highway to Heaven it's a sure bet you never saw Michael Landon get more than just a little out of sorts.  The crystal clean image we have today, for those of us who remember him, is that Michael was an inspirational character in his three notable television series.  One of his nicknames according to IMDb was "the Jesus of Malibu".  Let's face it, when those of us of a certain age think of family values as presented in Hollywood, most of us likely to picture Michael Landon.

So it probably will come as a shocking surprise that Landon got his big break in Hollywood as an angst ridden teenager in a low budget horror flick called I Was a Teenage Werewolf.   Or maybe it won't be a surprise... after all he was born on Halloween...  (I bet I caught you off guard there...  That's right.  If he were still with us, Michael would be celebrating his 84th birthday today.  OK, I didn't know it either until just now...)  But his start in Hollywood got kicked off in high gear when he was cast as the lead in that movie.

So many people got their start in the most unlikely of places (just check out some of the big names of today who had to start their careers in low budget soft core porn...)  Landon got his playing in what, in retrospect, may seem to be an odd character choice.  Certainly it would if he had played him after we had gotten used to the type of characters he played in later years.

 


 

 

 

So happy birthday to Michael in the hereafter.  This wasn't intended to be a birthday tribute, but it is now.





I Was A Teenage Werewolf (1957):


Tony (Michael Landon) is a typical young lad.  Well typical except he seems to get into a lot of fights.  And he has a hair-trigger temper.  Pop a balloon behind him and you'll likely get your block knocked off for the effort.  But besides that he is a good kid at heart.


At least he is until the grownups decide he needs to do something about his temper.  And what do most of them suggest?  Therapy.  Good old Dr. Brandon (Whit Bissell) over at the local aircraft plant supposedly can do miracles with hypnotism (hypnotherapy).


But Tony is wary of hypnosis.  After all, when you are hypnotized, they can make you do things that you really don't want to do.  You know, like jump around like a bunny rabbit, or make a fool of yourself in front of others, or even, ye gods! like, buckle down and become a good student.


But shortly after wailing on  good friend for an innocent prank at a party, Tony decides to go and see the good doctor.  Except the "good" doctor is not so good as he seems.  He gets the idea to use Tony s a guinea pig for his new theory in trying to get man to regress to his more primitive instincts.


Using a secret serum, Dr. Brandon gives Tony some gentle subconscious suggestions that ultimately turns him into a werewolf.  Talk about baser primitive instincts!  And one of the things that really sets him off (aside of his temper) is seeing a girl work out in her gymnastics outfit.   That's a pretty base primitive instinct.


When Tony realizes what is happening to him, he goes back to Dr. Brandon to try to work things out, but Brandon dismisses his fears and puts him through the therapy session again.  By now the whole town is on the lookout for Tony.  Because they recognize the outfit the werewolf wears is the same as the one Tony wears.  (I guess no one else has ever seen anyone but Tony dressed in a letterman's  jacket and jeans...)


The man hunt is on for Tony after he kills a couple of people and the story is bound to not arrive at a happy ending.  But it does leave us with one lesson learned: man shouldn't interfere with the realm of God.  (Not to mention don't trust a psychiatrist who has his own personal laboratory in the back room). 

 

That's it from the back seat.  Drive home safely folks.

 

Quiggy

 


 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The 5th Anniversary of "The Midnite Drive-In"






Dateline:  Oct. 24, 2015.  The Midnite Drive-In, a somewhat part-time blog with no sense of purpose had been idle for 6 years.  Then in 2015 I discovered the inspiration that triggered a now 5 year journey to recreate the blog.  What was the inspiration?  Blogathons!  If you have been a regular reader over those 5 years you will have noticed that many of the entries were inspired by blogathons.  I am much better at writing when shoe-horned into a concept rather than just winging it.

You won't find those earlier entries in the first iteration of The Midnite Drive-In.  I erased them all.  They were pretty bad.  My initial attempt was to mimic my movie review idol, Joe Bob Briggs.  I even copied his style of injecting a fictional bunch of malcontents to hang out with.  But I lost interest, probably because I really didn't think the homage was any good.  It's best to leave those entries in the internet grave.

Joe Bob was better at it anyway.  The writer, whose real name was John Bloom, worked for years as a drive-in movie critic for The Dallas Times Herald, and his work has been collected in two books, Joe Bob Briggs Goes to the Drive-In and Joe Bob Briggs Goes Back to the Drive-In.  If you are interested in what originally inspired me to try this gig, check them out.  I have both, but since they seem to be OOP, you may have to haunt used book stores to find them.  (And, no, you can't borrow mine...:-D)

I retained some of the humor that I had tried to inject in the original entries, but I opted for some more real, personal  background to the experiences I've had watching these movies rather than with some fictional friends.  As a result, I am still interested in doing this blog, and 5 years is a milestone.  (The original Midnite Drive-In only lasted about a year, if I recall...)

So here's the deal.  I had to find movies that meant a lot to me to celebrate this anniversary.  I've been doing a lot of standard fare over the years, but the original intent, highlighting the drive-in experience, has been shoved to the side way too often.  So for this 5th anniversary I selected two movies which, although I didn't actually get to see them on a drive-in screen, exhibit much of the same themes that made the drive-in experience so great in it's heyday.  To wit:  two films about aliens, nuclear disasters and giant monsters.  Both of these movies may never have been paired at a drive-in theater, but man, what I wouldn't give to experience both as a double feature in that atmosphere... preferably with a date by my side.  (Note:  According to wikipedia, the original screenings had The Amazing Colossal Man paired with Cat Girl, and Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman  was released with War of the Satellites.  But that doesn't mean it has never been shown as a double feature in later years.  I would do it if my dream of opening a classic drive-in were to come to fruition.)






















The Amazing Colossal Man (1957):

Col. Glenn Manning (Glenn Langan) and a group of soldiers are preparing for an exercise to advance into the nuclear zone after the aftershocks of the detonation of a plutonium bomb.  (In those prehistorical days right after the development of bombs, this was a standard exercise.  For more interesting looks at attitudes towards atomic bombs in those days, I highly recommend a documentary called The Atomic Cafe, which is just a collection of newsreels and educational films from the era.  It gives you some insight into the ignorance (or chutzpah) of the government's attitudes towards nuclear power.)

Anyway, Manning and crew are waiting, but something goes wrong.  The bomb does not detonate on time.  Meanwhile an unidentified and unauthorized airplane enters the forbidden zone and crashes.  Manning, against orders, tries to go to the rescue of the pilot, but while out of his bunker, the bomb does go off, and Manning is hit with full force of the blast of plutonium.  (Quite a bit more plutonium than it would take to send a modified DeLorean into the past, to be sure).

Amazingly, Manning survives the blast.  But the result of it is that he grows, day by day to astounding proportions.  And the result also affects his mind as he becomes rapidly resentful of what nature has inflicted upon him.

As Manning continues to grow, the doctors behind the scenes look for a way to return him to his normal state.  One of them succeeds in developing a serum which, when used on an elephant and a camel, reduce their size so that they fit in a cage on the tabletop of the laboratory.  So it seems that maybe they might just be able to help manning return to his normal size.

 

But time may be running out for the doctors.  As Manning's mind continues to deteriorate he escapes the confines of his place on the base and goes on a rampage, tearing through the desert and winding up in Las Vegas, where he proceeds to destroy Sin City.  (The casinos must've denied him credit.  After all, where would a 100 ft. giant get a viable way to earn money?)

 

 





 Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (1958):


A rich heiress, Nancy Archer (Allison Hayes), is married to a rather emotional vacuous man, Harry (William Hudson).  Nancy is portrayed as having alcoholic tendencies and has spent some time in an institution prior to the start of this movie.  But she is out right now and travelling down a desert highway when she runs into a round satellite.


From the sitellite emerges a giant hand (that's all we see at this point) and she runs screaming back in to town to tell the news.  Of course, no one believes her, since of course everyone knows she is an alcoholic and a former mental patient.  Harry, more concerned with making time with a local chippie Honey (Yvette Vickers) is oblivious to her rantings.  The sheriff and his deputies are equally unsympathetic.

Nancy is in a love/hate relationship with Harry.  Although she despises his philandering ways she still wants him to love her.  And manages to convince him to go looking for the satellite.  But when they finally find it and a giant alien  (Michael Ross, who also was cast as Tony the bartender) emerges from it, Harry empties his gun at it and runs off, abandoning Nancy to the alien.


The authorities, as well as Nancy's butler, Jess (Ken Terrell) suspect foul play.  It doesn't help that everyone in town knows that Harry has been fooling around.  But the sheriff and his deputy run across the satellite and it's inhabitant, also discovering that the alien has commandeered Nancy's diamond necklace.  (It is suggested that the alien needs the diamond to somehow power his ship, but it isn't explained how that's possible).


As a result of contact with the alien, Nancy grows to tremendous size (eventually.  It takes almost the entire movie for this to happen).  She breaks free from her restraints and goes on her own rampage like Col. Manning from the previous entry.  But she has a goal in mind.  She's seeking out her philandering husband.


The quality of the graphics in both movies is pretty shoddy.  Because the trick of making the people look like they are of monstrous size, apparently the trick was to superimpose the image of a normal sized person against a backdrop of a significantly reduced town.  This has the effect of making the giants look somewhat transparent.  (You can sometimes see trough the giant to the background behind them.)  I understand this was in the primitive days of special effects, but it still looks a bit ridiculous sometimes.  But the story is interesting enough to hold interest.


Drive safely foks.  And keep an eye out for 50 ft people.  They may be more dangerous than they look.


Quiggy







Saturday, October 17, 2020

Romance in the Ranchos

 


 

 

 

This is my entry in the Jean Arthur Blogathon hosted by  The Wonderful World of Cinema

 

 


 

 A Lady Takes a Chance (1943):

So the movie begins with a rather fairy-tale-ish opening crawl:

 

Once upon a time.

It was so long ago that people drove sixty miles an hour {horrors!} And skidded their tires {I imagine so...} And ate big gobs of butter (no wonder they drove so fast and skidded tires!} And drank three cups of coffee all at once {ditto} And there were more fellows around than there were girls { yeesh!}  And everybody was having a good time without knowing it (well, maybe the girls...} That's when our story happened.  Away back then in 1938. And here's hoping that "once upon a time" goes on again some quick tomorrow (that last was an added reference to the then ongoing WWII.  This being a 1943 movie}

 First a comment.  The movie starts out with our heroine Molly (Jean Arthur) beginning a vacation on a 14 day trip across the United States on a tour bus.  I don't know if you've ever had the "pleasure" of riding a bus cross country but at least in the late '80's it was no "tour".  I once rode from south Texas to Washington D.C.  It was the worst time of my life (even though the destination was pleasurable).  It took 64 hours, including the interminable exchanges and I bet I got all of 2 hours sleep.  And here she is taking a 14 day round trip.  And apparently they were expected to sleep on the bus!


Anyway, apparently Molly is a popular girl.  She has three, count 'em three beaus show up to see her off.  All of them are anxious to have her return and maybe break down and finally be a wife.  Malcolm (Grady Sutton), Bob (Grant Withers) and Gregg (Hans Conreid) all try to one-up the other with going away presents and goodbye kisses, much to the astonishment of her ailse mate Flossie (Mary Field) who wonders why she is going away in the first place with such exhibits of manliness waiting.


The first few days are filled with the excitement of picture taking as well as the obviously uncomfortable rigors of trying to find comfortable sleeping positions on a bus.  But when she gets to the west all things go the way these romantic comedies go.  While at a rodeo she has rodeo star Duke (John Wayne) fall head over heels for her (literally, he flies off his bucking horse and lands on top of her).  With such mild first encounters blossoms love.  At least it does for Molly.  Duke, on the other hand, is just being courteous by showing her a good time, unaware of the effect he is having on her.


Eventually Duke makes the wrong move on Molly and she becomes disgusted with him.  Especially after she finds out his watch is broken and she has missed catching up with her tour bus.  Stranded she has to stay the night, but when Duke tries to take a few liberties she is offended and dismisses him.  Unfortunately she also dismisses her opportunity to tag along to the next rodeo where the tour bus will be making a stop after it starts on its return journey to New York.


Molly's on and off again infatuation with Duke causes several problems along the way, including her causing poor Duke's prized horse to become sick.  Of course it all works out in the end for the horse (it is a romantic comedy, after all) but will things work out between Molly and Duke?  Ah, there's the real question.


I have to admit this is not one of the better John Wayne movies.  He;s a bumbling fool, nothing like the he-man idol that attracted me to his movies.  I have never seen Jean Arthur before (at least not that I can recall).  But she comports herself well in the role of the lovesick female.  I guess it all depends on what your opinion of this type of movie is.  Myself I've never really been a fan of romantic comedies.


But all in all, I guess its not really all that bad.  The comedy relief supplied by Charles Winninger as Duke's sidekick Waco, as well as a brief appearance by Phil Silvers as a tour bus emcee are pretty good.  And other than the bad memories sparked by those scenes on the tour bus, I enjoyed myself.


Well folks I'm headed back to the old homestead (fortunately in my car..)  Drive safely.


Quiggy