Sunday, November 29, 2020

Tonight's Movie: Niagara Falls (1941) - A ClassicFlix DVD Review

Today I enjoyed watching NIAGARA FALLS (1941), which is part of the latest Streamliners release from ClassicFlix, The Complete Hal Roach Streamliners Collection, Vol. 5.  

The set is subtitled Pitts & Summerville Plus Other Rarities.

Pitts and Summerville play Emmy and Sam Sawyer, who have wed after a courtship of two decades; Sam had an oil well come in and they can finally afford a honeymoon at a Niagara Falls hotel.

The couple meet Margy (Marjorie Woodworth) and Tom (Tom Brown), who have had a series of unfortunate encounters on the highway leading to the hotel, culminating in a car accident.

Sam believes Sam and Margy are married and is determined to help the battling couple reconcile, locking them in a hotel room overnight.  In reality Tom is a traveling salesman who's a bachelor with no interest in marriage, while Margy aspires to having a husband and 20 children.

This being a 43-minute comedy, one can perhaps guess what will happen after Margy and Tom have spent the night locked in a hotel room together.

This was an amusing little movie which I thought was one of the better Streamliners, though I've enjoyed all of them to varying degrees.

The film's success probably rests in part with director Gordon Douglas, who had graduated from shorts to "B" films before moving into "A" pictures later in the '40s.  He would go on to direct a variety of entertaining films, including SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY (1953) and FORT DOBBS (1958), both starring Virginia Mayo, and solid crime films such as WALK A CROOKED MILE (1948) and BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN (1950).

The screenplay by a trio of writers (Paul Gerard Smith, Hal Yates, and Eugene Conrad) gets the job done, and there are some good supporting players including Rand Brooks, Edward Gargan, Chester Clute, Leon Belasco, and Gladys Blake.

A fun side note: Thanks to the Streamliners series, Marjorie Woodworth is to date my most-viewed actress of 2020!  I'm not sure I'd even heard of her a year ago.  This film provided her with a good part, and it was also nice to see Tom Brown, familiar from so many films of the '30s.  He would leave the screen for four years during the mid '40s due to wartime army service.

NIAGARA FALLS was filmed by Robert Pittack.  

This was one of the best Streamliners DVD prints seen to date, a nice crisp picture with good sound.

I've now reviewed one or two films from each of the five ClassicFlix Streamliners sets and have really enjoyed this series of releases.  I'll be posting additional Streamliners reviews in the future as I complete my viewing of each collection.

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

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