Vacation in Reno (1946)

Article 5259 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-1-2016
Directed by Leslie Goodwins
Featuring Jack Haley, Anne Jeffreys, Wally Brown
Country: USA
What it is: Comedy

A hapless husband stages a fake argument with his wife to teach some friends a lesson, but his marriage is threatened when some of the arguments hit too close to home. He tries to fix the problem, but things spiral out of control.

After watching this movie, I had to go back to the Don Willis guide in which this was listed in order to figure out the fantastic content. One thing I learned is that sometimes you have to listen closely. At one point in this story the main character goes hunting for treasure with a metal detector, and I think I may have missed the dialogue that mentioned that the metal detector was of his own invention. I’m not sure to what degree this pushes the movie into the realm of science fiction; after all, prototypes of metal detector design were created as far back as the nineteenth century.

At any rate, I almost guessed that the fantastic content would be the incredibly high coincidence ratio of the main plot developments here. Basically, in a secondary plot tied to the marital problems plot, our hero is the only person to see the faces of a pair of bank robbers. The bank robbers bury their stolen loot and hide out at a dude ranch. To test his metal detector, the hero just happens to go to the same dude ranch and finds the buried loot. Fortunately, this outrageous coincidence is appropriate to a comedy. As for the whole movie, it’s mildly amusing, as is Jack Haley and the various situations that arise. However, I do sense that it could have been a lot funnier than it is; in its present condition, it feels pretty contrived.


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