The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
Back to the earliest of Burns and Allen sound films for the one about the book salesman (The Babbling Book, dir. Aubrey Scotto), in one particular instance.
The U.S. Army rake and the English nabob on the Continent vie at seducing ladies for their wealth, a very complex algebra of “highbrow” and lowdown cunning.
One has a people to free, the other a local grandmother to cure, it’s a matter of class, diamonds to the buff and luncheon on the cuff, rich widows are the prey, the rake has a rationale, a penny for the Old Guy and so forth.
The nabob finances rare arts, etc.
It comes down to the soap queen who’s not an heiress but a contest winner, she gives her all and has her reward, there is harmony on the Riviera.
The relationship to Pabst’s Die Dreigroschenoper has not been noted by reviewers, nor any suggestion of Anglo-American relations, nor much of anything else, really. “Lightweight and vapid”, Bosley Crowther calls it (New York Times), Variety is sure it “will divert the less discriminating”.
The American marries the girl, of course, and takes a factory job in Cleveland, the Englishman holds the chateau.
The peculiar elegance of this notably defeated the Daily Express, cited in Halliwell’s Film Guide, “the most vulgar and embarrassing film of the year.”
Do Not Disturb
The European market is closed to manufacturers without mistresses, the American’s wife (Baird of London) slips over to the Continent and insinuates herself.
A wild, incomparably drunken comedy in its latter stages, Jacques Tati emulates the effect in Play Time.
Critics have not had one clue, “it is without wit, in script or direction,” according to Bosley Crowther of the New York Times.
“A light, entertaining comedy” to Variety, “an inane comedy” to Time Out Film Guide, “silly farce” to Halliwell’s Film Guide, on the basis of “thin script and production.”