Here at PEPS, this July is #CleanMovieMonth2020. This is the third year in a row we have devoted this month exclusively to watching, studying, and reviewing American Breen Era (1934-1954) films. Although we normally spend most of our time and attention on Code films, July is special because we don’t watch any un-Code films. This year, we are adding the theme 20 to the celebration because this is 2020. Thus, I am reviewing twenty new Code films during July. In addition to the usual two articles per week as part of 100 New Code Films, I am writing twelve mini new Code film reviews. This is the eleventh such review.
#15 – The Kid from Brooklyn (1946)
Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, and Vera-Ellen
Director: Norman Z. McLeod, Producer: Samuel Goldwyn, Production Company: The Samuel Goldwyn Company, Released By RKO Radio Pictures
A timid milkman makes headlines when he accidentally knocks out a drunken boxing champion who is bothering his sister. He reluctantly becomes a boxer himself in hopes of making enough money to marry his singer sweetheart, not knowing that all the fights he wins are fixed.
Good Code Film
Highly Recommended, Five Stars
I really enjoyed this movie. It was hilarious! Danny Kaye is in great form in this film, not only as a comical fighter who learns to box to the rhythm of “The Beautiful Blue Danube” but also as a hilarious singer and dancer. He performs one of his signature quick-tongued songs in this film, “Pavlova,” with lyrics by his talented wife, Sylvia Fine. His Russian accent and pantomimed actions of a ballet dancer are hilarious, and so are his references to real dance names and terminology. Speaking of dancing, this film features some amazing dancing from twinkle-toes Vera-Ellen, who plays Burleigh’s (Danny Kaye) sister. The love interest is provided by Virginia Mayo, who plays out of work singer Polly Pringle. Her relationship with the sensitive Burleigh in this story is charming. Although the boxing training and fights are hilarious, some very funny stuff is related to the milkman job. Burleigh is a very clumsy and inefficient milkman who gets in trouble for hiccuping during a meeting, but matters only get worse when he drinks a cup of water spiked with ink! Later, he climbs on windowsills to leave bottles of milk for individual apartments. Then, he begins yelling for help when his expectant horse goes into labor! There are some great gags, jokes, and numbers, many of which include the beautiful Goldwyn Girls. The supporting cast is great, too. The fighter Burleigh knocks out Speed MacFarlane (Steve Cochran), who falls for Burleigh’s sister. The shifty manager who decides to promote Burleigh is Gabby Sloan (Walter Abel). His dumb sidekick is Spider Schultz, played by Lionel Stander, who played the same role in the Harold Lloyd original, The Milky Way (1936). Gabby’s patient fiancee is Ann Westley, played by the lovable Eve Arden. You won’t want to miss this film. It’s a knock-out!
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