Friday, August 28, 2020

Tonight's Movie: Calaboose (1943) - A ClassicFlix DVD Review

Tonight it was time to watch CALABOOSE (1943), the second title in the ClassicFlix set The Complete Hal Roach Streamliners Collection, Vol. 2: The Westerns.

Last month I reviewed the first film in the collection, DUDES ARE PRETTY PEOPLE (1942).

As with the other Streamliners, CALABOOSE is a short film consisting of a series of comedic set pieces loosely connected by an overarching plot. All three Streamliner Westerns star Jimmy Rogers (son of Will) and Noah Beery Jr. as a pair of goofy modern-day cowboys, Jimmy and Pidge.

In this 45-minute comedy Jimmy and Pidge take a job breaking horses, but it doesn't go so well; girl-crazy Pidge is distracted by Doris (Mary Brian of PETER PAN and IT'S TOUGH TO BE FAMOUS).  When Pidge isn't paying attention the horses escape and run riot through the local town, with one even ending up in the rear seat of a convertible!

It's a pretty amusing sequence, with an all-too-brief appearance by effervescent Jean Porter in a small role.

Pidge learns that Doris's uncle (William Davidson) is the local sheriff and that she loves to coddle and try to reform prisoners, so in the next sequence he works hard to get arrested, while Jimmy tries desperately to prevent it. Pidge finally manages to land in the very plush jail cell decorated by Doris.

In the final section of the movie, complications ensue with a notorious gangster (Marc Lawrence) also ends up in the jail and his gang breaks him out.

CALABOOSE might have been the weakest of the Streamliners I've seen so far, but I still found it mildly amusing. I liked the cast and had to chuckle at the craziness of the horse stampede, and with such a short running time, a Streamliner never has time to wear out its welcome! I find them pleasant company, and the best of the films have had moments which are laugh-out-loud funny.

CALABOOSE was directed by Hal Roach Jr. and filmed by Robert Pittack. The supporting cast includes Paul Hurst, Iris Adrian, Sarah Edwards, Nora Cecil, Jimmy Conlin, and William Farnum.

As with DUDES ARE PRETTY PEOPLE, the picture can be a tad soft at times but overall is entirely acceptable, with no distracting skips or jumps and a good soundtrack.

Earlier this summer I also reviewed films from The Complete Hal Roach Streamliners Collection, Volume 1: The Tracy & Sawyer Military Comedies, as well as from Volume 3, The Taxi Comedies. Just released this week was Volume 4: The Musicals.

Look for more Streamliners reviews here in the future, including the final film in this set, PRAIRIE CHICKENS (1943).

Thanks to ClassicFlix for providing a review copy of this DVD.


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