Thursday, January 1, 2015

Don't call it Hide-Out

Another of the B comedies coming up on TCM that I'd like to recommend is Hideaway, tomorrow at 12:30 PM. There are quite a few things in Hideaway that may remind you of the excellent 1934 film Hide-Out, but others that are completely different.

Where Hide-Out starts with the gangsters escaping and going to a house in the country, Hideaway starts at the house in the country and has the gangsters come there. The house is currently squatted in by the Peterson family, a father (Fred Stone), mother (Emma Dunn), and adult daughter (Marjorie Lord). Gangster Mike Clark (J. Carroll Naish, probably the most recognizable name in the cast) shows up with a couple of underlings, looking to escape from the police and other gangsters. And they had a good idea, too. They bought a house out in the country to use as their hideaway, only to find that the Petersons have taken the darn thing over since nobody's been living in the place for years!

So, what's a group of gangsters to do? Clark is the brightest of the lot, so he has them assume fake identities and tell the family nothing of who they really are and that they're the actual owners of the house. Instead, they'll be paying guests, although Mr. Peterson quickly makes them the talk of the town. As in Hide-Out, one of the gangsters falls in love with the daughter, although here, it's even more of a problem for the father. The daughter doesn't want to be stuck down on the farm any longer, and this big city guy coming along for her just might tear the family apart.

Hideaway is definitely not as good as Hide-Out, although to be fair, it was never intended to be anything more than a B movie. It wouldn't surprise me if the filmmakers had even forgotten about Hide-Out which had only been made a few years earlier. This one has a cast of relative unknowns, and a lot of broad humor, as in a scene where the gangsters have to paint a barn. One problem, though, is that with half the main characters being gangsters, there's the little matter of the Production Code, which constrains what everybody can do and how the movie can end.

If you could only watch of of Hideaway and Hide-Out, I'd certainly recommend Hide-Out. But if you're looking for 1930s B movies, you could do a lot worse than spend an hour with Hideaway. I think this time I actually am right in saying the movie isn't available on DVD.

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