Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Joe Brown's birthday, part 2

The movie that concludes today's tribute to Joe E. Brown on TCM is Earthworm Tractors, airing at 6:15 PM ET.

I mentioned the movie briefly back in March 2008, and much of my comment from that time still holds, especially regarding the plot. Earthworm Tractors is the sort of broad comedy that some people today might find overbroad, but is really also quite good for the kids. Younger kids especially will probably enjoy Joe E. Brown's face-making, as well as the scenes where he and Guy Kibbee get stuck on the out-of-control tractors. In that regard, it's almost like a cartoon, except that it doesn't have anything approaching the violence of most of the cartoons of the studio era. Also, in a lot of Brown's movies, such as Alibi Ike (not airing today), the blustering lies make his characters out to be really obnoxious. That's toned down quite a bit in Earthworm Tractors, with a character something closer to a Harold Lloyd plucky type.

Earthworm Tractors has made it to DVD, although that's in no small part due to the fact that back in the 1960s, when the original 27-year copyright term ended, Warner Bros. failed to renew it, allowing the movie to fall into the public domain. The result is that the DVDs may be of dubious quality.

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