For Reel

The Merry Frinks (1934)
March 27, 2015, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Alfred E. Green
3.5 Stars
The Merry FrinksAline MacMahon has a rare starring role in The Merry Frinks as the matriarch of the world’s most ungrateful family. Her husband (Hugh Herbert) is an oft-fired drunk, her sons (Allen Jenkins and Frankie Darro) are a tempered communist and an aspiring prizefighter respectively, her daughter (Joan Wheeler) is carrying out an affair with a married man (Harold Huber), and her elderly mother (Helen Lowell) does little but complain. The house’s walls are a hellish prison for MacMahon, forcing her to the edge of a complete nervous breakdown. With such thoroughly ugly characterizations, the film just about makes every audience member wonder if they’ve done their own mother wrong. That the not-so-merry Frinks come together in the end and support MacMahon plays like a fantastical bit of wish fulfillment, but it comes from a good place. The cast is a who’s-who of the great Warner Brothers character actors of the early 1930s, with Jenkins being the standout in what might be his most abrasive performance (which is saying a lot!).

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