Friday, February 27, 2009

Abbot & Costello- shorter & funnier!

I am a huge fan of the feature films of Abbot & Costello. I came to this love as most good monster film lovers do through ABBOT & COSTELLO MEETS FRANKENSTEIN and the subsequent team ups with various creatures in the Universal fold. But this lead me to their other comedies and in general its been a great thing. One bad spot has always been the miserable ABBOTT AND COSTELLO GO TO MARS (1953). In it Costello plays a mildly retarded man-child who still lives in the orphanage he grew up in but mostly just he acts as he usually does in every movie. It is this character that makes the film kind of hard to take as a comedy for me. I shouldn't feel guilty about laughing at Costello's antics but as he is supposed to actually be mentally deficient I'm uncomfortable giggling at his screw ups. Add to that the fact that the film isn't one of their best anyway and you have a recipe for disaster. Add to that the fact that the comedy team goes to Venus and not Mars and you have a disappointment waiting to happen.

Years ago, before video, there was a way to watch feature films at home. Well- at least some of them- or rather part of some of them. Castle Films was a mail order company that offered 16mm or 8mm versions of movies for sale. These were not the entire movie but a heavily edited version made to keep the length to under one reel. In the case of ABBOTT AND COSTELLO GO TO MARS they cut it down to less than nine minutes and actually made it a pretty good little short. Amazing what losing about an hour of footage will do for a movie sometimes, huh?

Here is the Castle Films version of ABBOTT AND COSTELLO GO TO MARS. They retitled it ROCKET AND ROLL which is another improvement now that I think about it. Enjoy!

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