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  30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, The Big LoveBuy this film here.
Year: 1959
Director: Sidney Miller
Stars: Lou Costello, Dorothy Provine, Gale Gordon, Jimmy Conlin, Charles Lane, Robert Burton, Will Wright, Lenny Kent, Ruth Perrott, Peter Leeds, Robert Nichols, Veola Vonn, Jack Straw, Doodles Weaver
Genre: Comedy, Science Fiction
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Artie Pinsetter (Lou Costello) is a lowly rubbish collector in this town, but he has big dreams of making it as a scientist, all he needs to do is find some formula, invent something, anything to raise his profile in the field of study. However, he doesn't really have the funding, and the most he has done is build a computer called Max which speaks in his voice but is not much of a conversationalist. One other thing Artie would like to do is marry his sweetheart, Emmy Lou (Dorothy Provine), but again, there is an obstacle, this time in the shape of her uncle and prospective Governor, Raven Rossiter (Gale Gordon), who looks down on him from a great height.

As Emmy Lou will be doing soon, only more literally than metaphorically in what if it's known at all, is known as comedian Lou Costello's final film. He and Bud Abbott had dissolved their often-argumentative partnership by this point, and while not many were knocking on Bud's door, Lou at least found himself more in demand, being the funny man rather than the straight man in the duo. Alas, his health was not the best, he was not in a good place either, and a few months before this was due to be released, he died from a heart attack, which cast a pall over the project when it finally was put out to audience indifference, and maybe a little morbid curiosity.

While this might have played okay to kiddie audiences, it was few other people's idea of a classic comedy, never mind a classic science fiction movie, lifting its premise from the better known Attack of the 50 Foot Woman from earlier in the decade, though leaving out the aliens to have Lou as the culprit for sending the leading lady to gargantuan proportions (if not as gargantuan as Allison Hayes had been back in the previous effort). Well, sort of: Artie has been experimenting on geothermal radiation as a power source, and after accidentally provoking Emmy Lou into a fit of tears when she thinks he doesn't want to marry her after all, she runs off to be blasted by said radiation.

This has the result of that increase in size, though it doesn't improve her temperament any, and once Artie has found her something to wear (this was very coy about the sexual element, though it was present) she is even more aggrieved. There were bits here alluding to business that would go over the heads of younger viewers, such as Rossiter agreeing to allow Artie to marry his niece because he thinks she's now pregnant rather than thirty feet tall, not having seen her yet, and the whole Gordon character was very much in the mould of his sitcom work (indeed, director Sidney Miller was a veteran of that small screen format), but with a light satire on self-serving would-be public servants only out to serve themselves.

The special effects were adequate, mostly superimposing the leading lady in the landscape, though some of the stuff where Provine dealt with tiny props was at least amusing (particularly the making breakfast for her new husband business), but for the finale Costello was left in a "science is basically magic" contrivance where a freshly revitalised Max sent him back in time (sort of - it certainly sent his clothes back in time) and flying up into the sky (almost into Sputnik, fifties reference fans), as all the while the US Army tried to blow up him and his new bride, believing her to be a Martian invader and not listening to any sense otherwise, possibly more satire, though that may be a stretch. This was mild at best, and Costello engaged with it with the crumpled air of a man wondering if his best days were behind him, which was, under the circumstances, tragically accurate. At least Dance with Me, Henry wasn't his final effort. Music by Raoul Kraushaar.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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