International House (1933)

Article #1008 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-18-2003
Posting Date: 5-16-2004
Directed by A. Edward Sutherland
Featuring Peggy Hopkins Joyce, W.C. Fields, Stuart Erwin

Several people converge on a hotel to bid for rights to a new invention.

W. C. Fields, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Rudy Vallee, Bela Lugosi, Franklin Pangborn, Cab Calloway; what do all these performers have in common? The answer is twofold; first of all, they’re all performers fully capable of stealing any movie they’re in, and secondly, they’re all in this movie. It’s a comedy-musical, fast-moving and outlandish, with energetic musical numbers, a plethora of great comic moments, and no real plot to speak of. The invention is an early form of television; the inventor keeps trying to tune in on the six-day bicycle race, but ends up zeroing in on, among other things, a talking cow, an invention display by Colenel Stoopnagle, and Cab Calloway and his band performing ‘Reefer Man’. Bela Lugosi is the jealous villain who thinks Fields is sleeping with his ex-wife, and Franklin Pangborn is stuck with the endless task of sorting keys. Fields and Allen have the best comic moments, and even have a scene together. They don’t make them like this anymore, so if it comes around, you may well want to catch it before you’re stuck with a litter of kittens.

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