Lou Costello plays a country bumpkin vacuum-cleaner salesman, working for the company run by the crooked Bud Abbott. To try to keep him under his thumb, Abbott convinces Costello that he's ...
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Lou Costello plays a country bumpkin vacuum-cleaner salesman, working for the company run by the crooked Bud Abbott. To try to keep him under his thumb, Abbott convinces Costello that he's a crackerjack salesman. This comedy is somewhat like "The Time of Their Lives," in that Abbott and Costello don't have much screen time together and there are very few vaudeville bits woven into the plot.Written by
Dan Weckerly <Daniel_Weckerly@providentmutual.com>
Abbott's toupee shifts noticeably during the "7 times 13 = 28" scene. (The "shift" is due to the fact that the scene was filmed after principal photography was completed. It was felt that at least one classic "routine" had to be inserted into the picture. You will notice that Lou is also heavier during this footage. Also filmed at this time was the routine with Sidney Fields, replacing a less confrontational sequence filmed with Eddy Waller.) See more »
Little Giant is the most unusual Abbott&Costello film ever made with Bud and Lou not functioning as a team per se. They did one other film like that for Universal at the time. According to the Bob Thomas book on the team the two were close to breaking up at the time and it was decided to treat them separately. Eventually things were patched up.
Bud has a dual role as the evil general manager of the Hercules Vacuum Cleaner company who's been skimming off the books to pay for his expensive, but secret wife Jacqueline DeWit. His other roles is as his own cousin and branch manager of the Stockton office of the said company. Bud as the cousin has a girlfriend in secretary Brenda Joyce.
Not enough is said about Bud's acting here in two fairly straight roles because he got lost in the praise for Lou Costello's best show of pathos. Little Giant is the film where he is fairly compared with such silent screen comedians like Charlie Chaplin, Harry Langdon, or Roscoe Arbuckle. If Little Giant had been a silent film, any one of these comic greats could have done the Costello role. Lou measures up to all of them here.
Lou's a simple kid from the farm who's taken a correspondence course in salesmanship and wants to be a vacuum cleaner salesman in the tradition of his uncle George Cleveland. With the best wishes of his mother Mary Gordon, Lou goes off to Los Angeles to get a job with the Hercules Vacuum Cleaner company.
Costello's various adventures both on the job and amorous show him at his best as an innocent. Not even Stan Laurel ever responded to vamping the way Lou does with Jacqueline DeWit.
Today's viewers will not get the joke, but Costello's character Benny Miller coming from Cucamonga was a guaranteed laugh every time the town was mentioned. It took years for the town to live down its reputation as a place for hicks, but that was as a result of the Jack Benny Show and the famous announcement that occurred every so often in one of the broadcasts about a train leaving for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga. Imagine that with every letter Cucamonga enunciated to the fullest. When you got off at Cucamonga you were in the equivalent of Hooterville. And Costello's very character was a typical Cucamonga resident as the Jack Benny Show told the world.
For the biggest and most successful extension of Lou Costello's range as a comedian, one should view Little Giant.
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