Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Fuller Brush Man

This isn't really an analytical post, but I'm surprised that the movie The Fuller Brush Man and its follow-up, The Fuller Brush Girl, aren't better-known. I know that Red Skelton, the star of the first film, isn't all that well-remembered today, but Girl stars Lucille Ball (Skelton has a cameo), who is well-remembered, and yet it's not even on DVD.

The two movies were both scripted by Frank Tashlin (he co-wrote the first film and then wrote Girl himself), and even though he didn't direct them, they come off as embryonic Tashlin films, whether it's Skelton's encounter with the statuesque and skimpily-dressed Adele Jergens or the borrowings from cartoon, silent, and radio comedy or the combination of comedy with gangsters and murder.

The long climax of Fuller Brush Man is half live-action cartoon, half silent slapstick homage. It also has some great "cutaway" gags where Skelton is accidentally broadcasting over people's radios, and we keep cutting to different people's reactions to what he's saying. Here's the sequence in two parts:

Part 1

Part 2

1 comment:

Artie said...

Check out Columbia's KILL THE UMPIRE, too, for another Tashlin script from the same period. Tashlin himself once told how that film's director charged into his producer's office with the script, demanding to know how he was supposed to film the chase climax Tashlin had concocted. "That son-of-a-bitch wrote a g**d*** cartoon!"