Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tonight's Movie: The Kid From Brooklyn (1946) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

THE KID FROM BROOKLYN (1946) is another colorful musical comedy which is part of the Warner Archive's wonderful set Danny Kaye: The Goldwyn Years. This four-film set is part of the Archive's Samuel Goldwyn Classics series.

THE KID FROM BROOKLYN is a remake of one of Harold Lloyd's sound-era comedies, THE MILKY WAY (1936). I've never seen the original and have pulled my Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Vol. 1 set with the intent of watching THE MILKY WAY soon.

One of the fun things about THE KID FROM BROOKLYN is that Lionel Stander repeats his original 1936 role as the trainer, Spider Schultz. Another connection with THE MILKY WAY is that THE KID FROM BROOKLYN director Norman Z. McLeod had done uncredited work on the original film.

Danny Kaye plays Burleigh Sullivan, a milquetoast milkman who through a series of unusual incidents becomes a boxing champion. Virginia Mayo plays Burleigh's sweetheart Polly, met when he needs a phone in the middle of the night to call a vet for his beloved milk wagon horse.

Vera-Ellen plays Burleigh's sister Susie, and a young, very handsome Steve Cochran has a rare comedic role as Speed McFarlane, a middleweight champion who's sweet on Susie.

The cast also includes Walter Abel as Burleigh's manager, Eve Arden as Abel's wisecracking girlfriend, Fay Bainter as a matron who sponsors a charity fight, and, in the final scenes, Jerome Cowan as the ring announcer. Clarence Kolb owns the milk company. Bess Flowers sighting: Look for Hollywood's best-known extra ringside at the first fight.

I had previously seen this film only once, as a child, and I think I liked it even more than the previously reviewed UP IN ARMS (1944) and WONDER MAN (1945). The cast is simply fantastic, and there's plenty of room for everyone to shine, whether it's Abel convincing Kaye to fight near the end, Cochran being knocked out by Kaye's horse, or Bainter taking fighting tips from Kaye. There's some dazzling dancing from Vera-Ellen, and Virginia Mayo is gorgeous performing "You're the Cause of It All" (dubbed by Betty Russell). Kaye's comic routines were also toned down a little and didn't take as much screen time, which I think made for a better movie overall.

The color is absolutely stunning, and every aspect of this film combined for a most enjoyable afternoon of movie watching. I watched much of this film with a smile on my face.

THE KID FROM BROOKLYN runs 113 minutes. The Technicolor cinematography was by the great Gregg Toland.

This Warner Archive DVD is an outstanding print. The disc includes the trailer.

Coming soon: A review of the final film in the set, A SONG IS BORN (1948).

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD collection. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website. Please note that the initial sets of this series sold at the Warner Archive site are traditionally replicated (pressed) rather than burned on demand.


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