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  Out of the Blue Brandy With Body
Year: 1947
Director: Leigh Jason
Stars: George Brent, Virginia Mayo, Turhan Bey, Ann Dvorak, Carole Landis, Elizabeth Patterson, Julia Dean, Richard Lane, Charles Smith, Paul Harvey, Alton E. Horton, Hadda Brooks
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Rabelais the dog has found himself a bone to chew upon and makes his way up to the apartment of his owner, artist David Gelleo (Turhan Bey), on the tenth floor of the building. He then proceeds to jump over the fence on the balcony and bury the bone in the small garden of their neighbours, something Arthur Earthleigh (George Brent) and his wife Mae (Carole Landis) don't discover until they emerge to eat their breakfast in the summer morning. Arthur is henpecked by his wife into demanding David get rid of the pooch, but he's having none of it...

Not to be confused with either the grim Dennis Hopper family drama from the eighties, or the New Zealand true life spree killing movie of more recent vintage, this Out of the Blue was a mildly screwball comedy which had been lost in the shuffle of forties flicks, mostly thanks to it not being of the top quality level that the big studio classics enjoyed - this was an indie. On the other hand, film buffs, especially those who liked Golden Age Hollywood, would find much to amuse themselves with thanks to the casting which saw a bunch of recognisable faces playing against type, and all for laughs which may not have been uproarious, but were there nevertheless.

In a story penned by film noir favourite Laura author Vera Caspary, what this was essentially turned out to be one of your basic farces, with a tinge of bad taste to offset the would-be wholesome endeavours of Arthur to make up for his slip. That being once Mae is away visiting her sister for the weekend, he nips into a steak restaurant and gets to talking to a rather tipsy lady at the bar. She is Olive Jensen, and if seeing big old George Brent essaying the role of the milquetoast was not odd enough, how about seeing cult dramatic actress Ann Dvorak playing broad comedy? She was still best known, if she was known for anything at all, for playing the sister in Scarface who the lead character harbours incestuous feelings for.

Therefore seeing her going for giggles was not something those who were able to track down her other, largely serious roles, would be used to, and she looked to be enjoying the opportunity to let her hair down as a woman who, shall we say, is overfond of her tipple (brandy being what she prefers). Somehow Arthur ends up inviting her home, possibly because he sees this going further, but once she's there, ruffling up the antimacassars and trying to play the piano, he immediately regrets his actions and does his best to get rid of her. Easier said than done, when she opts to sleep off her stupor in rather alarming manner - Olive has a habit of collapsing in a state which could be mistaken for death.

Can you see where this is heading? Meanwhile, the two busybodies who delight in observing their neighbours from their balcony get the mistaken impression that the unconscious Olive is actually dead, which leads to all sorts of, well, farcical mishaps as you can imagine. Also interesting was Turhan Bey's participation, as quite often he would be Hollywood's go to guy for the exotic, dashing villain - horror fans will know him from that sort of thing - but he had a strong female following too, which was doubtless the reason here he played the Casanova. Not that he stays that way, as Virginia Mayo shows up to pose for him (reluctantly at first, she was really here to see the dog Arthur is trying to get rid of) and manages to win his heart, an interesting example of multiracial romance in a culture which would often be very conservative about such relationships. Don't go thinking this was in some way boundary pushing for its cast or its themes, however, for it was very silly in the main, but agreeable in its foolishness. Music by Carmen Dragon.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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