Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Cole Porter's Broadway musical Mexican Hayride was optioned by Universal in the mid-1940s, then remained in "development hell" until 1948. By the time the property made it to the screen, the entire Porter score had been removed, and the play's original star Bobby Clark was replaced by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The story takes place South of the Border, where American fugitive from justice Joe Bascom (Costello) searches for con man Harry Lambert (Abbott), for whom Bascom had been a fall guy. Also in Mexico is Joe's hometown-sweetheart Mary (Virginia Grey), now known as Montana, the country's foremost female bullfighter. Joe catches up with Harry at the bull arena, where Montana is about to choose the "Amigo Americano" in a publicity scheme cooked up by Harry. When she spots Joe in the crowd, Montana (angry at our tubby hero for bilking her out of her life savings -- it was actually Harry's doing), furiously throws her hat at him. When Joe catches the hat, he's elected Amigo Americano and extended every hospitality that Mexico can afford. Sensing yet another opportunity to make a dishonest dollar, Harry exploits Joe's newfound celebrity to promote a phony gold-mining scheme. The gorgeous Dagmar (Luba Malina), Harry's partner in crime, romances Joe to secure his cooperation. Somehow all of this ends up back in the bull ring, with poor Joe facing a very belligerent "el toro." A bit too plot-heavy for Abbott & Costello, Mexican Hayride still has several choice moments, including a priceless verbal exchange involving gold ore ("gold or what?") and a "Mother Lode."
accident, gangster, bullfighter, chase, con/scam, friendship, mine, on-the-road, on-the-run, stock-market