|Up in Mabel's
The "B" movie was a great Hollywood tradition. With minor budgets,
these movies were produced primarily to to play second fiddle on double bills at local
theaters. Up in Mabel's Room fits the bill sublimely. Short on production values or big name
stars, it has touch of the classic madcap comedies, fits well as a drawing room comedy, has a
farcical center of gravity, and along with agreeable performances, the quick and clever dialogue
delivers lively comedy. Adapted from a Broadway play and remade fromt he 1926 silent film, Mabel
and company remain rather stage bound, but director Allan Dwan manages the revolving rooms at a
laughter inducing pace
|What's up, Mabel? ©VCI
Newlywed Gary Ainsworth has a little secret he doesn't want to share
with wife Geraldine. Mabel knows all about it though and she is determined to let the news slip. A
weekend at Mabel's fiancée Arthur's country farm is the perfect setting for sexual shenanigans and
a comic collision of the ladies and Gary.
Dennis O'Keefe made a number of successful low budget films during the
forties. O'Keefe proves adept at mugging, feigning innocence, and bumbling his way around sexual
byplay in Up in Mabel's Room. There's a solid supporting cast surrounding the central
performance of O'Keefe. Marjorie Reynolds spits out dialogue with rapid energy as Geraldine
Ainsworth, Gary's bride of a whole month. Gail Patrick seemed permanently amused as Mabel and
Mischa Auer gets a lot more from the role of ambitious waiter than one might expect.
The best you can say about DVD production on Up in Mabel's Room is
serviceable. You can watch and enjoy this silly comedy despite the transfer problems. The first
problem to be address is the lack of a proper pluge set-up for transfer. If you don't adjust your
black level, the picture will surely be washed out. Bring the black level down a number of clicks
to bring the picture into the proper range. There are a number of scenes with prolonged full
length scratches. More annoying, however, is a feint pattern of hairlines that appear in portions
of the pictures. I was not able to identify whether it's a reflection of element condition or
processing. Grain is slightly processed, probably owing to some digital cleaning and black somewhat
compressed. The overall sharpness is less than good, but it falls short of being annoying. The mono
sound is thin with a minor nasal raspiness but all the dialogue is clearly delivered. As a bonus,
VCI has included a seventeen minute comedy short starring Edgar Kennedy. Not much going on in the
silliness, but this is a good example of a typical program filler. Where's the cartoon and
If Up in Mabel's Room is up you alley, you might want to check out Getting
Gertie's Garter, the 1945 film reunited the star and production team of the former.
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