The Noose Hangs High
Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Cathy Downs
MGM Home Entertainment 2005
77 minutes

An Abbott & Costello movie is like a joke. Either you get it or you don’t and explaining it will not make it any funnier. Although The Noose Hangs High is not one of the top three funny movies by the comic duo, those would be Hold That Ghost, Meet Frankenstein, and Meet the Invisible Man, it is most definitely one of the comedy pair’s fun movies nonetheless.

Plot in an Abbott and Costello movie is an accident waiting to happen, literally. The story itself often serves only as an engine for various funny skits. In The Noose Hangs High the story revolves around 50,000$ the humorous twosome ends up owing a gangster who, it turns out, himself owes it to a gambler called McBride who never loses.

The key to these movies is watching carefully what is going on and listening carefully to the dialogue because these two elements are what make these movies hilarious. Of course, some of the material is recycled from the radio shows, such as the You’re Not Here bit and the funny routine about the horse that’s a mother that ate its father. However, a lot of the gags are visual such as Lou Costello dressing and undressing for the night as Bud Abbott keeps changing his mind about whether or not they are going to spend the night in the gangster’s office. Timing is everything in comedy and these two had it in spades.

There are, of course, many other funny moments in this funny flick such as a scene where the comedic duo literally cannot get arrested, even after breaking a jewelery store window, and a comparatively lesser scene at the dentist’s. Dialogue is also key, including such gems and throwaway lines such as “A husband is what’s left of a sweetheart after all the nerve has been killed.”

As many recent Metro Goldwyn Mayer recent DVD re-releases of classics from their vault, this movie is in pristine condition with absolutely no fade out, glitches, skips, or dust particles on the screen.

If you are not an Abbot and Costello fan, nothing will convince you to become one and if you already are, nothing will convince you otherwise either. For those who are iffy about this classic comedy pair, The Noose Hangs High is worth getting


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