1,001 Movies – Week 3

“Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” to “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen”

 

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) – The ultimate original horror comedy, this is also the first movie I ever saw – ever – anywhere. Sunday afternoon creature feature, on WKY in the late sixties this was the first place I ever heard about Frankenstein’s Creature, Dracula, the Wolf Man or Abbott & Costello. As you can see, it heavily influenced my life. It’s relatively free of the often-recurrent shtick that Bud & Lou had John Grant wedge into most of their work; it’s still funny in an original sense, and the monsters are taken seriously, and ergo, are scary. This is very nearly perfect in every way, but it’s horror AND comedy, so doesn’t get much attention from those who discuss Serious Film as Art. (KCL)

 

Adam’s Rib (1949) – Real life lovers Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy made many fine films together. Most feel this is the best. They sizzle, snap, snarl, like only lovers do. George Cukor directed a great story by Ruth Gordon and Garson Ganin; and co-star Judy Holliday still blows everyone away. The Bonners are a married couple; Tracy is the DA and Hepburn the defense attorney on separate sides of the dais. Holliday’s character is arrested for the attempted murder of her very not nice husband. The film was well ahead of its time regarding equal rights – it probably helped expedite the country’s awareness, and boy does it do it right. The snappy repartee is a delight, the private jokes are a blast, and Holliday is adorable. (KWR)

 

The Addams Family (1991) – The TV series was fun, but this movie captures the, er, “spirit” if you will of Charles Addams’ work; in fact, it recreates for film several of his original cartoons, my favorite being the opening sequence with the unsuspecting Christmas carolers. (KCL)

 

Adventures in Babysitting (1987) – Chris Columbus directed this teen comedy featuring Elizabeth Shue in her first starring role. The kids’ wild adventures through the streets of Chicago culminate in meeting Thor! (A deliciously hunky Vincent D’Onofrio, almost unrecognizable with his long, blond hair.) Make sure you see the original before Hollywood’s remake comes out – yes, really – because its magic will not be repeated. (GS)

 

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989) – Terry Gilliam’s outlandishly funny film sports his trademark over-the-top visuals and his ability to assemble an amazing cast. (Robin Williams was a last minute replacement for Sean Connery as the King of the Moon. Believe it not. ) I was lucky enough to see this at a sneak preview and predicted that it would go the way of The Wizard of Oz – it won’t be recognized as the classic it is until many years after its release. Like Oz, there are tinges of darkness around the edges of this Technicolor feast. (GS)

 

 

Originally published in Raspberry World – Volume 2, Issue 1 (June/July 2007)

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