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  Long, Long Trailer, The Driving Me Crazy
Year: 1954
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Marjorie Main, Keenan Wynn, Gladys Hurlbut, Moroni Olsen, Bert Freed, Madge Blake, Walter Baldwin, Oliver Blake, Perry Sheehan
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Nicky Collini (Desi Arnaz) has just arrived in the pouring rain to this trailer park and immediately spots his own vehicle, rushing over to bang on the door and yell for his wife Tacy (Lucille Ball), but she's not there. Fuming, he goes into the manager's office, but he isn't there either, although there is a fellow sitting reading a magazine who wonders what the matter is. Nicky, pacing up and down, tells him it's all the fault of that trailer, and he and his wife are on the verge of splitting up thanks to the trouble it has caused them: never get one, is his advice...

The American sitcom's star couple Lucy and Desi made few forays into film together, but The Long, Long Trailer was an exception, directed by Vincente Minnelli in between classic musicals. Perhaps that's the reason this is forgotten by most today, as while it was bright and amusing, it wasn't going to distract anyone's attention away from such entertainment behemoths as I Love Lucy or The Band Wagon. But if your curiosity had been piqued by this combination of talent in one big screen effort then by no means would you be let down by what was on offer here, which could just as easily have made it into an episode of the comedy classic.

But don't go thinking this was I Love Lucy: The Movie, as there were differences here. In this, the couple were playing a more straightforward pair of newlyweds than they did on television, and what may surprise people was that Arnaz worked hard to get as many laughs out of this material as his wife did, making this more of a joint partnership in humour terms than you might be used to. Nicky and Tacy would be very happily married if it were not for that mobile home of theirs, and the problems that arise when he doesn't take to it as the place where his heart lies while she embraces it are what fuels the dramatic side.

As well as the comedy, because in Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich's script they don't seem to keen on the idea of a nomadic existence across America either. From the off Nicky is unconvinced when he sees how much money he is going to be shelling out as he has been persuaded by Tacy that they were going to save any strain on their bank account, but once he's bought the trailer he has to buy a new car powerful enough to pull it, then fit the brakes and the various attachments, and soon this is looking like more trouble than it's worth. Tacy will not change her mind, however, and he feels like he's stuck with it, although crucially he doesn't feel like he's made the wrong decision in marrying her.

It's just that they cannot see eye to eye on this house on wheels, which is a nightmare for him to drive as the head off on honeymoon to Colorado, and meet various people along the way who Nicky ends up humiliated in front of. Much of this is worth a chuckle, even a belly laugh, as yes, there's the expected sequence where Tacy makes the mistake of preparing a meal in the trailer while it's still moving, with Ball showing off her slapstick skills, but also more amusingly unexpected business as when Nicky scoops his new bride up in his arms to carry her over the threshhold, then is interrupted by trailer park busybodies thinking she has twisted her ankle, which ruins their wedding night as it culminates in Tacy being given a sleeping pill for her non-existent injury. If Ball represents nonconformity here, then Arnaz is the opposite, so it's no wonder they cannot agree about their new lifestyle, although interestingly for the era the former gains the upper hand by the end. Music by Adolph Deutsch (with a couple of songs).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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