For Reel

An Alligator Named Daisy (1955)
June 30, 2016, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: J. Lee Thompson
2.5 Stars
An Alligator Named DaisyIn the post-war era, it was Britain’s Ealing Studios that become synonymous with the country’s prestigious comedies—often starring Alec Guinness, they were decidedly more cynical than their American counterparts, typically involving murder or other such wrongdoings. If it is a surprise to see such a broad comedy come from J. Arthur Rank Productions (the “gong” strikes that begin their films is most iconic from the Powell & Pressburger masterpieces), An Alligator Named Daisy is also a significant piece of counter-programming. It more resembles a Hollywood comedy in its pacing and slapstick—the exotic pet itself seems a direct reference to Bringing Up Baby, albeit this picture finds itself more interested in the animal itself than the characters. And, in due fairness, it is something of a surprise that Daisy is so charming, if only due to the bizarre asynchronicity of an enormous reptile in a lowbrow farce. The humans around her aren’t quite so fascinating, although it is startling to see the engaged lead so freely open himself up to love elsewhere. Director J. Lee Thompson seems frankly overwhelmed by the material—the early indicator being a jarring musical number, ably performed by Jeannie Carson but given little in the way of production design or choreography—but the film is worth a look for those looking for a slightly off-kilter romantic comedy.

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