Naughty Nineties, The (1945)

“Strange as it may seem, they give ball players nowadays very peculiar names.”

Abbott and Costello try to rescue their friend’s showboat from the hands of some unscrupulous cardsharks.


Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, Abbott and Costello’s first period piece together contains “several of their most famous routines.” The storyline is innocuous but relatively enjoyable, and — most importantly — never interferes with the ongoing litany of gags. Unlike Peary, I didn’t find the “shaving scene” especially funny; however, I was tickled pink by countless other hilarious moments (see below).

Redeeming Qualities:

  • Abbott and Costello performing their beloved “Who’s On First?” skit
  • Costello fearfully confronting a plateful of fried “cats”
  • Costello frosting a ramshackle cake
  • Costello shakily singing “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” in time to Abbott’s stage directions

Must See?
Yes. While some reviewers disagree, I believe this film is a distillation of Abbott and Costello at their best.



One Response to “Naughty Nineties, The (1945)”

  1. First viewing – not must-see.

    This A&C outing is a mixed bag. When the humor isn’t dated, it’s generally not inspired (esp. the long, slapstick-y chase scene at the end). Some of the humor is a matter of taste (I suppose) but I find much of it more troublesome than funny: the ‘fried cats’ scene plays loose on its own terms; the ‘shaving’ bit is borrowed (in form) from the Marx Brothers.

    ‘Who’s On First?’ is (justifiably) famous and is the film’s best bit. If the rest (or even the bulk) of the film were up to its clever level, it would be a different story and a better film. (But that bit can be found on YouTube; you don’t need this film for it.)

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