Blues Busters (1950)

BLUES BUSTERS (1950)
Article 1841 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-30-2006
Posting Date: 8-27-2006
Directed by William Beaudine
Featuring Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Adele Jergens

When Sach develops a beautiful singing voice after a tonsillectomy, Slip decides to make a profit from it (and pay off the hospital bills) by opening a nightclub with Sach as the main attraction.

Seeing this one so soon after NO HOLDS BARRED really brings home to me how often the Bowery Boys films relied on a formula for their stories. The formula was simple; because of some strange circumstance, Sach either develops an amazing ability or an amazing invention of some sort. Slip, always looking for a money-making scheme, tries to use the ability / invention to make a bundle. Complications arise, usually involving a rival manager whose fortunes fall as those of the Boys rise, and who attempts to undermine the boys’ scheme by sending a woman to pry secrets out of Sach or Slip. Hilarity ensues. This, with slight variations, captures many of the Bowery Boys storylines. Both this movie and NO HOLDS BARRED follow this formula fairly closely.

This one predates NO HOLDS BARRED by two years, and it captures them while Billy Benedict and Gabriel Dell were still part of the team. Still, by this time, it had clearly become the Leo and Huntz show; though Billy was given an early gag, he’s mostly stuck on the sidelines with Buddy Gorman and David Gorcey. Gabriel Dell plays a non-comic character and is really given nothing to do. This would be Dell’s last outing with the boys, while Benedict would would hold on about one more year before departing as well.

Despite the reliance on formula, this one didn’t really work as well for me. The problem was that it takes itself just a little too seriously at times. Unless you’ve seen a lot of these, you might not notice, but I do think it’s trying for a bit of pathos on occasion, and it doesn’t quite work. The fantastic content is fairly slim as well; the concept of a throat operation changing someone’s voice popped up in MR. DODDS TAKES THE AIR , and I thought it was pretty slim as fantastic content there as well. Leo’s malaprops are a bit sparse here, but Huntz is still keeping the mugging under control at this point. Not bad, but this one isn’t one of my favorites of theirs.

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