ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET CAPTAIN KIDD
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Legendary comedy team Bud Abbott and Lou Costello star in this 1952 feature, which sees them joining with Captain Kidd to search for a treasure on Skull Island. Featuring Charles Laughton as the notorious Captain Kidd, this film features musical numbers and plenty of slapstick comedy that Abbott and Costello are known for.
WHAT I LIKED
Even though I haven’t seen a ton of films from the 40s and 50s, I have enjoyed many of the older comedy teams. While Laurel and Hardy are my personal favorites, I also enjoyed the energy and fun behind the Abbott and Costello duo.
This release from Warner Archives brings this relatively forgotten picture back to availability on DVD, and that’s always neat to see. Like other Abbott and Costello pictures, it’s Costello who gets most of the spotlight against Abbott as the straight man. This films sees Costello even more on the forefront as he goes head-to-head with Charles Laughton, whose portrayal of Captain Kidd is reminiscent of his Captain Bligh from “Mutiny on the Bounty.
With a run time of only 70 minutes, this movie plays more like a long television show than a feature film, which gives it a level of energy and fun. Before the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies took hold several years ago, these seafaring fun adventures were all but lost. It’s nice to revisit one of them again.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Back in the 50s, making a movie “fun” apparently meant you had to throw in a slew of songs. This movie has several numbers in it that really don’t fit into the flow of the story. I understand that singing pirates and sailors weren’t unheard of in the 50s, but they do take away from the more direct comedy elements.
Also, because this comes from Warner Archive, it’s a straight transfer of the film, warts and all. There’s tons of blemishes on the print, and the color is in dire need of remastering. Normally, this doesn’t bother me, especially for the black and white releases, but this was shot in color and looks like it had some real pop to it in its original print.
However, this is a result of the library series, and it’s nice to see the movie get some exposure even if it’s not pristine. In short, I’d love to have a remastered version, but a presentation with visual problems is better than no presentation at all.
Nothing but the film.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People looking for some more obscure Abbott and Costello films.