Dance With Me Henry
Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Gigi Perreau
Directed by Charles Barton
Black and White
Universal 1956
MGM Home Entertainment 2005
80 minutes

Dance With Me, Henry is the last comedy the comic duo of Abbott and Costello made together and is a minor effort at that. The story revolves around Costello, Lou Henry, who runs an amusement park called Kiddyland while trying to make a home for a couple of orphans while the child welfare lady is after him. Abbott, Bud Flick, is Costello’s buddy who has got himself in trouble with the mob over some gambling debts.

There are very few of the pratfalls Lou Costello was famous for in this movie and the verbal exchanges between Abbott and Costello are down to a minimum as they spend comparatively little time on screen together. The one funny moment involving the two together involves Abbott being tied up with tape over his mouth and Costello trying to get him to speak (a psychologist would make a lot out of the implications of this scene). Most telling of history of these two comic geniuses and the overall feel of Dance With Me, Henry is this exchange early in the movie:

Abbott: “I gave up a promising career just to be his (Costello) partner.”
Costello: “You talk about promises. You promised to quit gambling and pay off your debts. That’s the only reason why I brought him in with me, Father.”

The one really good funny bit involves Costello in the interrogation room at the police station once the cops leave him alone. He has coffee and sandwiches hidden on him and makes himself a snack before using the interrogation lamp to get a tan.

The title of the movie comes from a record the boyfriend of one of Costello’s charges records at the amusement park. This character, played by Ron Hargrave, and the scenes around him are an obvious attempt by the duo to appear to be hip and cool to a new audience.

The print quality of this DVD release from MGM Home Entertainment is almost pristine, some of the last scenes of the movie are more brown and beige than the crisp black and white usually present in other Abbott and Costello MGM re-releases.


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