#CleanMovieMonth2020 Guest Article: “TFTMM 2020 & WOIANRA 2019 on… Here Come The Co-Eds (1945)” by Neil “The Musical Man” Powell

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The below article was published on Thoughts from The Music(al) Man by Neil “The Musical Man” Powell on July 12 as his second entry in #CleanMovieMonth2020. See the original post here.

Of course, since it works so well, I figured I would use my second review of the day to help celebrate the Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s celebration of Clean Movie Month 2020! And that movie is, of course (in continuing with the Abbott and Costello filmography), their 1945 comedy Here Come The Co-Eds.Working at the Miramar ballroom as dance escorts, Slats McCarthy (Bud Abbott) doubles as a publicist for his sister and co-worker Molly (Martha O’Driscoll), with the help of his buddy Oliver Quackenbush (Lou Costello). When they get into trouble and are fired, the dean of Bixby College, Larry Benson (Donald Cook), offers Molly a scholarship and jobs for Slats and Oliver due to the publicity he had read. This doesn’t go over well with the more traditional chairman of the board of regents for the college, Jonathan Kirkland (Charles Dingle), but Larry is determined to modernize the college and help bring in more students. Molly does well there, but is unsure of what to do, since Jonathan continues to threaten to stop paying the school’s bills if she does not leave. However, the students, including Jonathan’s daughter, Diane Kirkland (June Vincent), try to raise the money and bet on the upcoming basketball game. But can they win with some dirty double-dealing going on as well?

Here Come The Co-Eds brought Abbott and Costello to the college scene (well, at an all-girls college, anyways). For filming, the studio made use of North Hollywood Park as a stand-in for the Bixby College campus. However, the school’s main building was found on the Universal backlot, and the gymnasium for the basketball game was done on Stage 28, where the original Phantom Of The Opera was filmed (and is apparently rumored to be haunted, no less). And speaking of the basketball game, Lou Costello had been a pretty good basketball player himself when he was younger, and actually did a lot of the special shots for the movie himself!

I admit, going into this movie this last time, I had forgotten how much fun this one is! Obviously, Abbott and Costello have some of their comedy routines here, including “Jonah And The Whale,” “Oyster” and “Wrestling Match,” all of which are fun as always! They also have that basketball game I mentioned (which is ridiculous, but a lot of fun), plus Bud and Lou cleaning up their living space, resulting in Lou getting stuck in a pan of dough and dragging Bud along too! Sure, the music is mostly forgettable and the side romance between Molly and the dean is so under-utilized that you wonder why they bothered (although it was nice to see June Vincent’s Diane Kirkland, who was in a relationship with the dean at the start of the movie, be supportive of her ex’s new relationship instead of making trouble about it). In spite of those issues, I had a lot of fun watching this one again.

Once again, this movie was still made during the Breen era of the Code, and it is certainly reflected here. While most of us would expect a college movie to have a lot of hijinks, including drinking, partying and a lot of bedroom action, but there’s none of that here. Admittedly, that probably does make this movie a little dated (and that assumes it would even have been close to accurate for the time it was made). But it is all still good,clean fun for the whole family, and I consider it well worth recommending!

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory as part of the 28-film The Complete Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection, and is one hour, thirty minutes in length.

My Rating: 9/10

Audience Rating:

Happy #CleanMovieMonth2020!


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