Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Long Long Trailer

The Long Long Trailer (1954) was directed by Vincente Minnelli and stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez. The film is based on the book by Clinton Twiss.

Nicky Collini (Desi Arnez) and his fiancée Tacy (Lucille Ball), buy a large trailer despite Nicky's extreme reluctance. Tacy wishes to buy the trailer so they can save money that would otherwise be spent on a house and also be able to travel around the United States to civil engineering projects that Nicky is employed on.

First the cost of the trailer with taxes is more than they predicted. They also have to buy a more powerful car to tow the trailer and the money spent starts to mount up.

The honeymoon trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains rapidly becomes a catalogue of disasters. These include Nicky's inability to drive the trailer at first. As a mechanic describes best "think of it as a train behind you, forty feet of train." There is also a delightful scene of Tacy's attempts to cook dinner in a tilted trailer and her being ejected from the trailer into the mud.

Keenan Wayne plays a cop directing traffic as Nicky drives the trailer through a small town.

At a trailer park, they experience the life of a "trailerite" with all the "unwanted" help from fellow trailerites including a delightful performance by Marjorie Main.

At Tacy's relatives, Nicky learns how to back up the trailer, successfully taking out a rose bush and part of the house.

Another classic scene is Tacy learning the hard way you can't ride in a trailer when it is in motion.

There is a wonderful cliffhaning ride on a narrow road through the mountains. A delightful scene with full facial expressions of Tacy, Nicky, and a driver passing in a blue truck.

Needless to say relations deteriorate between the couple and finally Tacy storms off in a huff. But by the film's end, they are tearfully reunited.

In addition to Marjorie Mann and Keenan Wayne, the film includes appearances by Madge Blake (as Tacy's Aunt Anastacia), and Walter Baldwin (as Tacy's Uncle Edgar),

This is one of the funniest films I have ever scene. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez are at their best.

According to Robert Osborne, the studio was not sure if this film would be a success because they thought that people would not pay money to see Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in a movie when they could watch the couple on television for free. Desi Arnaz made a $25,000 bet with the studio that the movie would make more money than the current highest grossing comedy at that time (Father of the Bride starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor and also directed by Vincente Minnelli). Arnaz won the bet.

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