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Saturday, November 23, 2013

On Our Merry Way (1948)

A roving reporter (Burgess Meredith) canvasses the city with his question of the day, "How has a small child influenced your life?". What we get is three stories. The first is about two down and out musicians (James Stewart, Henry Fonda) who rig a talent contest expecting a big pay off but get the table turned on them instead. The second is about a film star (Dorothy Lamour) who specializes in exotic Polynesian heroines. The third (a steal from O. Henry's RANSOM OF RED CHIEF) is about two con men (Fred MacMurray, William Demarest) who encounter the kid from Hell (David Whorf) and plot to get money from his rich relatives. Co-directed by King Vidor and Leslie Fenton, this anthology comedy film is practically a footnote in the careers of everyone involved. While not exactly a jewel awaiting rediscovery, the film is a great deal of fun. Among the amusing highlights: James Stewart sucking a lemon, Henry Fonda getting drenched while playing a trumpet, Dorothy Lamour sending up her sarong image and MacMurray and Demarest mistaking a rope for a snake. All the actors so seem to be having a good time that it's infectious. The wrap around story involving Meredith and wife Paulette Goddard (in the film and real life) is the weakest segment. A decidedly minor but appreciated effort. With Harry James, Victor Moore, Eduardo Ciannelli, Carl Switzer and Dorothy Ford.

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