Thursday, January 26, 2023

Tonight's Movie: The Long, Long Trailer (1954) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz star in THE LONG, LONG TRAILER (1954), which was released on Blu-ray this week by the Warner Archive.

Ball and Arnaz play Tacy and Nicky, who as the movie begins are planning their wedding. Nicky's job will take him on the road, and Tacy is convinced that a trailer will allow them to have a "real home" in any city and also save money.

Of course, they end up spending a small fortune on the trailer and related gear, and they also discover it's a challenge to drive something so long and heavy. Will Tacy and Nicky's honeymoon survive the many challenges presented by the title trailer?!

Although I've seen a majority of the films directed by Vincente Minnelli, this is one I'd not yet caught -- part of the reason being that while I like the Lucy of '30s and '40s films, I'm not a particular fan of her "loud" comedy style as seen on TV's I LOVE LUCY (1951-57).

She's a bit more restrained in this film than the TV series, perhaps due to her director, and THE LONG, LONG TRAILER is a fairly entertaining 96 minutes. The script by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich is built around predictable situations -- with lots of Lucy's trademark physical comedy and the expected exasperation from Desi -- but it works pretty well.

One of the best things about the movie is its overall sleek "look," which is probably not a surprise given the director's great sense of style. I loved the set design for the trailer show Tacy and Nicky attend early in the movie, with someone diving into a shallow pool, and I would have liked to take a complete detailed tour of the beautiful trailer! 

Shots of the trailer whizzing along the highway in Yosemite are simply gorgeous. I also enjoyed the visuals provided by costume designer Helen Rose; Tacy's wedding gown is lovely.

It was fun to see additional familiar sites such as Red Rock Canyon during Tacy and Nicky's travels. My favorite place they visited, though, was on the MGM backlot: Tacy's aunt clearly lives on MGM's "St. Louis Street," where Minnelli had filmed the classic MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944) a decade earlier.

Although Marjorie Main and Keenan Wynn are prominently billed in the opening credits, they're really just cameos. Other familiar faces seen in the movie are Moroni Olsen (who had recently worked with Minnelli on the FATHER OF THE BRIDE movies), Madge Blake, Jack Kruschen, and Herb Vigran.

The Warner Archive Blu-ray looks terrific, showing off the widescreen color cinematography of Robert Surtees to fine effect.

Disc extras include the movie trailer; the Pete Smith Specialty short AIN'T IT AGGRAVATIN'? (1954); and the Tex Avery cartoon DIXIELAND DROOPY (1954).

It's an amusing movie and a beautiful disc. Fans of Lucy, Minnelli, and colorful '50s settings will want to give it a look.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection Amazon Store or from any online retailers where Blu-rays are sold.


Anonymous Jess said...

This is a great review, and you nailed why I love The Long, Long Trailer so much: it's for "Fans of Lucy, Minnelli, and colorful '50s settings"

6:51 AM  
Blogger Walter S. said...

Laura, I enjoyed your write-up of one of my all-time favorite movies. THE LONG, LONG TRAILER(filmed 1953, released 1954) brings back some memories good, middling, and bad, which is life.

I first viewed THE LONG, LONG TRAILER on THE NBC SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES in 1965, which was the first time it played on tv. Too me the movie is a charming, funny, and all most tragic slice of life. Everything goes wrong that can go wrong and what a time Lucy and Desi have on their "Honeymoon Trip!"

I've viewed this movie several times over the years and it's one that I can always view and I appreciate it more as the years go by and our personal experiences add up. The movie is timeless.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you, Jess, I'm glad you enjoyed the review -- and the movie!

Walter, thank you so much as well. I always love to read when you first became acquainted with a movie! It's a good thing the movie ends when it does or the "tragic" aspect might overtake things, so much goes wrong! Hopefully for Tacy and Nicky, if their marriage survived that trip they could survive anything. :)

Best wishes,

7:22 PM  

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