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Jack (Lou Costello) is supposed to babysit an unruly child (David
Stollery), but soon enough he finds himself sleeping on the job, dreaming
himself to be the lead in the classic tale Jack and the Beanstalk.
In his version, he and butcher Dinkelpuss (Bud Abbott) climb up a giant
beanstalk to the giant's realm, to free the princess (Shaye Cogan) and
recover Jack's hen that lays golden eggs. Of course, they become prisoners
of the giant (Buddy Baer) before long, but have soon plotted an escape.
But before they can do that they have to make the princess and prince
Arthur (James Alexander), both also prisoners of the giant who back on
earth were promised to each other but do not know each other at all ...
but now that they don't know who each other is, it's a perfect chance to
see if it can work out ...
Of course, soon the prince and the princess are lovebirds, and after a
series of cartoon-like chases, Jack, Dinkelpuss and our newfound lovers
can escape the giant and climb down the beanstalk to earth ... and when
the giant comes after them, they simply fell it and the giant crashes onto
earth to his death ...
Oh boy, this film is really pathetic.
It is a widely known fact that it is not a good idea to put an
established comic duo into a fairy tale/musical kind of film (Laurel
& Hardy had to learn this the hard way 18 years earlier
with Babes in Toyland).
Now of course, it's true that as a duo,
Abbott and Costello were always just mediocre and beared no comparison to Laurel
& Hardy or Bob
Hope and Bing Crosby, but in their best films (early to
mid 40's) they were always wor-th a chuckle or two.
This film however is from the early 1950's, and their brand of humour
simply doesn't click anymore, made all the worse that they are in an
incredibly childish adaptation of a children's tale, and don't even try to
make the best of the film by inducing it with their own brand of humour.
Instead they run through a series of tried-and-true but badly staged
slapstick routines, and make the audience endure an even for this kind of
film incredibly corny love story as well as a few bad, badly staged, badly sung
and badly danced song-and-dance routines.
On top of that, one gets the feeling that the film doesn't even try to
be any good. Example: The giant is really just a rather tall man, who is about as
scary as ... well, a rather tall man. And the sets, mostly cheesy matte
paintings, totally fail to convince.
... and then there's of course Bud Abbott: Why was he in this
film at all ? I mean, Lou Costello gives a pathetic version of giant
killer Jack but at least he tries to carry the film. Abbott, the straight
man to Costello's moron does nothing but standing around and is totally
futile to the plot ... most of all because the story doesn't need a
straight man and Abbott manages to make the least even out of that.
With better comedians and a better script, this film could have been
mediocre, with Abbott and Costello ... unwatchable.