Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Olsen and Johnson's followup to their zany, iconoclastic Hellzapoppin' was the more conventional Crazy House. The premise: Having nearly laid waste to Universal while filming Hellzapoppin', O & J are thrown out of the studio when they arrive with plans for a new picture. Only momentarily daunted, our heroes decide to produce the film themselves, renting a studio and hiring carhop Margie (Martha O'Driscoll) as their leading lady. The success of this plan hinges upon an "angel", self-proclaimed millionaire Col. Merriweather (Percy Kilbride), who promises to advance the money for the new film. Things get sticky when the Colonel turns out to be a balmy eccentric with nary a cent to his name. After a wild courtroom trial presided over by ever-scowling Edgar Kennedy, it is decided that Olsen and Johnson will be permitted to screen their new film before a gathering of Hollywood studio executives, with distribution rights going to the highest bidder. The finale devolves into frantic slapstick when the last reel of the film turns up missing (a plot device later utilized in Mel Brooks' Silent Movie). Though Crazy House gets off to a suitably wacky start-when word arrives at Universal that Olsen and Johnson are coming, barricades are set up and armed guards posted, while every studio contractee from Leo Carrillo to "Sherlock Holmes" (Basil Rathbone) and "Dr. Watson" (Nigel Bruce) brace themselves for the comedians' invasion-the film quickly settles into a standard musical-comedy groove, complete with such guest stars as Allan Jones, Count Basie, the Delta Rhythm Boys and the Glenn Miller Singers. Still, there are plenty of hilarious moments along the way, most of them handled by raucous comedienne Cass Daley, playing a dual role. And there's seldom been a more satisfying movie finale than the last gag of Crazy House, which literally disposes of tiresome romantic leads Martha O'Driscoll and Patric Knowles.
behind-the-scenes, film, filmmaker, musical [play], studio, craziness, house, songwriter