Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Tonight's Movie: 40 Pounds of Trouble (1962) - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

Tony Curtis fans have had quite a bit of enjoyable Blu-ray viewing in recent months thanks to Kino Lorber.

Tonight's film, 40 POUNDS OF TROUBLE (1962), is part of the three-film Tony Curtis Collection released late last summer.  I previously reviewed the other movies in the set, THE PERFECT FURLOUGH (1958) and THE GREAT IMPOSTOR (1960).

Kino Lorber also released the Curtis films SIX BRIDGES TO CROSS (1955), an interesting movie which was part of the Dark Side of Cinema IV collection, and a film from later in his career, THE MIRROR CRACK'D (1980). 

Most recently Kino Lorber has just released CAPTAIN NEWMAN, M.D. (1963), in which Curtis costarred with Gregory Peck, Angie Dickinson, and Bobby Darin.

I enjoyed circling back to the Curtis set and 40 POUNDS OF TROUBLE, which I first saw almost exactly two years ago at the Hollywood Heritage Museum.  That event is now a particularly fond memory, given that it's been over 10 months now since I last saw a film with an audience!

I liked the movie the first time I saw it and still get a kick out of it for various reasons, starting with Curtis's very orderly manager of a Lake Tahoe casino, whose life is turned upside down caring for Penny (Claire Wilcox), the young daughter of a guest who's vanished.

Steve (Curtis) and Chris (Suzanne Pleshette), who works at the resort, learn that Penny's father has died in an accident and decide they will take her to Disneyland before breaking the bad news.  It's kind of an odd premise, but in the context of the film, it works.

Unfortunately for Steve, crossing the state line from Nevada to California means that law enforcement and a detective are on his tail looking for alimony owed to his ex (Mary Murphy), resulting in a crazy chase sequence all over Disneyland.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows how much I love Disneyland, and this film is a fascinating piece of Disney history.  As I learned at the Hollywood Heritage Museum, it's the only non-Disney film shot inside Disneyland during Walt Disney's lifetime.  

The Disneyland locations don't all make sense, but it's great fun to see them and even pick out the geographical impossibilities.  Since I haven't been able to go inside the park for almost a year, "visiting" it via this film right now was extra-special.  

The movie shows many Disneyland locations, from attractions which still exist, such as the Storybook Land Canal Boats, Mad Tea Party, and Peter Pan's Flight, to places which are now part of "Yesterland," like the Skyway Buckets and Rainbow Caverns Mine Train.  It's a wonderful (if somewhat crazily jumbled!) look at the park.

Disneyland and Curtis combine to provide pure viewer eye candy, and there's so much more to look at, from fascinating period business signs to the casino's interior design to the lake.  The film is simply a lot of fun for adults and kids alike.  It may not be classic cinema, but it does exactly what it sets out to do, entertain its audience.

40 POUNDS OF TROUBLE was directed by Norman Jewison and filmed in widescreen Eastmancolor by Joe MacDonald. (The director had much more success with this comedy than with THE ART OF LOVE, which I watched a few days ago.)  It runs 106 minutes.

The cast includes Karen Steele, Allyn Ann McLerie, Kevin McCarthy, Edward Andrews, Larry Storch, Stubby Kaye, Diane Ladd, and many, many more familiar faces. 

Kino Lorber's Blu-ray features a typically attractive widescreen print.  The sound in some of the location scenes, such as one early on in the casino, seemed a tad muffled, but nothing overly concerning.  The disc includes a commentary track by Kat Ellinger and Mike McPadden as well as the trailer.

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray.


Blogger Vienna said...

Always enjoy this film. Your description of Tony Curtis’s character - very orderly - so accurate!

1:22 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks! It makes the character a little unusual...on the other hand he also engages in wild chases!

Best wishes,

9:54 AM  
Blogger DKoren said...

My family watched the Disneyland scenes from this movie back before Christmas. So cool to see it back in the day! This is the Disneyland my mom remembers best, so she was pointing out things and just loving it. Very glad this glimpse into Disneyland's past is documented. And with Tony Curtis running around no less!

7:54 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Glad you enjoyed the Disney scenes, Deb! Parts of what's shown in the film are familiar to me from my earliest visits. Sounds like it was a lot of fun to watch with your mom sharing her memories.

Wish you all could have been at the Hollywood Heritage screening of this a couple years ago, that was such a fun afternoon, uniting Disneyland fans and classic film buffs! I'm sure you all would have loved it.

Best wishes,

11:41 PM  

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