Long, Long Trailer, The (1954)

“It’s a fine thing when you come home to your home and your home is gone!”

Synopsis:
Newlyweds Tacy (Lucille Ball) and Nicky (Desi Arnaz) find their marriage on the brinks as they travel in their brand-new, “long, long trailer”.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
I’m pleased that Peary refers to this “delightful comedy” as “strangely neglected”, because I feel the same way. As Peary notes, there are countless moments of hilarity and romance, with both Arnaz and Ball turning in wonderfully comedic performances. Fans of “I Love Lucy” definitely won’t be disappointed, and others should find themselves laughing in sympathy as well. Plus, as a recent newlywed myself, I can attest to the authenticity of how exasperating road trips can be for couples. Some of my worst arguments with my husband have occurred while we’ve been on vacation, so I have nothing but empathy for poor Tacy and Nicky, as they try to recapture the spark of love in the midst of their chaotic travails.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Ball’s collection of enormous rocks, which dangerously weighs down their new home
  • Ball vainly attempting to cook as their trailer bounces back and forth across the bumpy road
  • Arnaz steering the enormous trailer along perilous mountain paths (a truly scary scene)

Must See?
Yes, as Ball’s best film.

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2 Responses to “Long, Long Trailer, The (1954)”

  1. Yes, a must (mainly as the most successful of the three movies Ball and Arnaz made together), even if I feel it has been ‘strangely neglected’ because it’s something of an anti-comedy. Personally, the premise made me tense ten minutes in, knowing what this neophyte couple intended to navigate. ‘TLLT’ is structured well by veteran screenwriters Hackett and Goodrich but, even for a comedy, Ball’s character can be too idiotic for comfort (trying to cook eggs in a tilted trailer, pass cars while driving, hide the weight in the trailer-and lie about it-when there’s a safety issue). In this picture, as opposed to their tv show, Ball’s character dominates-but I wish she had been given more ‘sensible’ comedic moments, like when she helps Arnaz back the trailer into a driveway. Minnelli seems to be enjoying the underbelly of middle-American life in the way he depicts ‘helpful’ trailer park neighbors (though Marjorie Main is hilarious) and dull relatives. (I was so curious/concerned about ‘poor Grace’.) Obviously, lack of communication and sensitivity makes for better ‘comedy’ but the overall tone made me feel kind of bad for them as a couple (as opposed to, say, Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon in ‘It Should Happen To You’–in which the zaniness is such that you root for them). The mountain sequence is indeed scary and it’s enhanced rather well by Tacy and Nicky’s very funny/nervous conversation about a novel Tacy has stopped reading.

  2. Excellent points. You’re right that it’s difficult in many ways to watch what this couple is put through (put themselves through?) for the sake of “comedy” — the fact that they’re seriously close to divorce so early in their marriage is sobering, and comes across as much less light-hearted than in their 1/2 hour TV spats.

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