For Reel

Six of a Kind (1934)
February 18, 2016, 5:39 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Leo McCarey
3.5 Stars
Six of a KindThe success of Grand Hotel prompted a trend towards “all-star” pictures, with Dinner at Eight being the most famous example. One of Paramount’s answers to MGM’s string of successes was this programmer comedy which brought together the comedic teams of Charles Ruggles and Mary Boland, W.C. Fields and Alison Skipworth, and George Burns and Gracie Allen. If pairing six comedians together without much of a script could have been recipe for disaster, this Leo McCarey picture allows almost everyone a chance to show their talents. A cross-country road trip sketches the minimum outline of the plot, but the film is comprised of a series of vignettes wrought to the strength of the performers. In one sequence, the dim-witted Allen nearly kills Boland at the Grand Canyon by having her back up for a picture, and in the highlight of the film, Fields performs his pool routine in full. While the subject matter is presented rather innocently, the picture concerns the running joke that Juggles and Boland are desperate to have sex on their honeymoon, but Burns and Allen are constantly in their way. The dynamic means that Allen has two straight men to play off of (Burns and Ruggles), and each of the actors brings a slightly different method of dealing with her madness. One’s appreciation of Six of a Kind will relate directly towards their appreciation of the talents involved, but fans of performers will be delighted.

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