Keep ‘Em Flying (1941) – Arthur Lubin and Ralph Ceder

The next title in DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies features that great comedic duo, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. They make an appearance in the chapter on Monstrous Apes, as Abbott encounters a gorilla (a man in a suit) partway through this rather patriotic picture.

The pair serve as ground crew to Jinx Roberts (Dick Foran), who is a hot shot pilot in a circus. When he shows off a little too much, he’s fired, and he, Blackie (Costello) and Heathcliff (Abbott) figure out their next plan of action…

… and join Air Force.

Jinx sets about trying to prove himself and win the girl, while helping another pilot solo, and learning to set his ego aside. But the real fun is, of course, with the two real stars of the picture, Abbott and Costello. They run amuck on the base, causing problems, while trying to do their part, and become involved with a pair of sisters, Gloria and Barbara (both played by Martha Raye) working at the U.S.O.

The sister story lends itself to some fun, because, of course, Abbott doesn’t realise they are two different women, and is getting some very mixed signals.

abbottgorilla

The ape shows up when the couples end up on a stroll through a fair grounds, and things get a little silly (more so than the rest of the film) and both Abbott and Gloria have encounters with the monstrous ape.

But that only plays a small part in the film, so it seems like a bit of a stretch to include this one in the book. I’m not going to complain though, because I have always delighted in the Abbott and Costello features, though none of them top Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, that is pure gold!

It’s great how the comedy in their film works, that it’s suitable for all ages, and still works wonderfully when aided by that cinematic essential the suspension of disbelief. There are physical gags, banter and witty dialogue, and just a whole lot of fun happening on the screen.

And Raye seems to be having an absolutely delightful time playing two completely different characters, and her Gloria is just a joy when she interacts with Abbott’s Heathcliff.

This was made partially as a recruitment film, and also to keep patriotism high, as World War II was threatening to engulf the globe at the time. It’s a fun, and enjoyable watch, and that is why I keep coming back to DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies.

So, if you’re looking for something bloody, funny, or bloody funny, pick up a copy for yourself and find something to watch tonight!

1000full-keep-'em-flying----------------------------------(1941)-screenshot

 

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