Jitterbugs (1943)

Genres - Comedy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Slapstick  |   Release Date - Jun 25, 1943 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 74 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

If Jitterbugs is, as has often been claimed, the best of Laurel & Hardy's 20th Century-Fox films (an otherwise fair-to-mediocre lot), it is because the studio was using the picture as a showcase for their newest singing discovery Vivian Blaine. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy play a couple of travelling "zoot suit" musicians who innocently team up with likable con man Chester Wright (Bob Bailey). In the course of their travels, Chester and the boys meet small-town girl Susan Cowan (Blaine), whose mother has been victimized by real-estate swindlers Corcoran (Robert Emmett Keane) and Bennett (Douglas Fowley). Reasoning that it takes a crook to catch a crook, Chester masterminds a complicated "sting" to recover Mrs. Cowan's money. Chester's scheme requires Hardy to disguise himself as amorous Southern colonel Wattison Bixby, and obliges Laurel to don women's clothing as Susan's Aunt Emily. Alas, the boys aren't quite up to the rigors of the confidence racket, and as result they end up the prisoners of Bennett's partner, gangster Tony Queen (Noel Madison). In escaping their captors, Laurel and Hardy utilize Chester's phony "gas pills", which when swallowed cause the bad guys to float to the ceiling! The film concludes with a wild runaway-showboat sequence, consisting largely of stock footage from the 1938 Fox musical Sally, Irene and Mary. A reworking of Arizona to Broadway (1933), Jitterbugs is hardly a classic, but Laurel & Hardy-and Vivian Blaine-are in fine form. Worth the admission price in itself is the romantic rendezvous between Oliver Hardy and phony Southern belle Lee Patrick.



aunt, car, carnival, con/scam, customer, desert, disguise, drag-queen, gasoline, help, land, loot, love, manager, millionaire, mother, police, real-estate, rescue, retrieve, revenge, river, riverboat, road, selling, showboat, songwriter, Southern-belle, stranded, talent, traveling, water