“There’s a curse on this house, all right.”
During the Revolutionary War, a patriotic tinker (Lou Costello) and a noblewoman (Marjorie Reynolds) are mistaken for traitors and shot, their ghosts cursed to remain on the same plot of land until they can prove their innocence.
The Time of Their Lives was Abbott and Costello’s second attempt — after Little Giant (1946) — at moving away from buddy films and towards a more “traditional” style of comedy. Here, they tap into the genre of “ghostly comedy” (a la the enormously successful Topper trilogy), with a twist of period drama for good measure — though the bulk of the film takes place in 1946. As in Little Giant, Abbott once again plays dual roles (as Costello’s Revolutionary War-era nemesis, and his descendant), but Costello’s the primary protagonist — along with his female “buddy”, Marjorie Reynolds. The story — involving Costello and Reynolds desperately trying to get modern-day Abbott and his friends to help them uncover a hidden letter from George Washington, which will prove their innocence — is innocuous and reasonably entertaining, but I found myself noticing (and sorely missing) the absence of A&C’s classic routines. This one is really only must see for fans of Abbott and Costello — many of whom, interestingly, consider it among their best.
P.S. This film’s rather generic title really should have been reconsidered… It makes little sense, and doesn’t accurately convey the movie’s central premise.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Lou Costello and Marjorie Reynolds as the doomed ghosts
- The effectively “spooky” seance scene
No, but it’s worth a look if you stumble upon it.