For Reel


The Time of Their Lives (1946)
October 3, 2014, 6:50 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Charles Barton
4 Stars
The Time of Their LivesBud Abbott and Lou Costello were having their creative differences in the mid-forties, and so in a bold experiment they played distinct, individual characters in 1946’s Little Giant. Shaking up the team’s formula was successful enough that they would repeat it in their next film, The Time of Their Lives, in which they only speak to each other once during the entire running time. It works extraordinarily well–the familiar vaudeville bits that the pair would trot out in many of their pictures are neglected in favor of new, more cinematic visual gags. That is not to say that the jokes are particularly inventive (the humor is not too far removed from Topper), but they are not without their charm. The miscommunication between the living and the dead is mined for comedy most frequently, with the living characters being terrified of the haunting and the ghosts (Costello and a capable Marjorie Reynolds) being unaccustomed to 20th century technology. Gale Sondergaard has a supporting role as a psychic medium who inspires the film’s best line (“Didn’t I see you in Rebecca?”).