APPLE DUMPLING GANG RIDES AGAIN, THE (director: Vincent McEveety; screenwriter: Don Tait; cinematographer: Frank V. Phillips; editor: Gordon D. Brenner; music: Gordon D. Brenner; cast: Tim Conway (Amos), Don Knotts (Theodore Oglevie), Tim Matheson (Private Jeff Reed), Kenneth Mars (Marshal Wooly Bill Hitchcock), Elyssa Davalos (Millie Gaskill), Jack Elam (Big Mack), Robert Pine (Lt. Jim Ravencroft), Harry Morgan (Maj. Gaskill), Ruth Buzzi (Old Tough Kate), Cliff Osmond (Wes Hardin, bank robber), Ted Gehring (Frank Starrett, bank robber), Richard X. Slattery (Sgt. Slaughter), Audrey Totter (Martha Osten); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: G; producer: Ron Miller; Walt Disney Home Video; 1979)
“Juvenile, silly and dull-witted.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A Disney family entertainment Western spoof that the kiddies might like and their parents might like because it made their kiddies laugh. All other viewers might not be that generous. I found the slapstick antics of TV comics Tim Conway (The Carol Burnett Show) and Don Knotts (The Andy Griffith Show) juvenile, silly and dull-witted. It’s a sequel to the 1975 The Apple Dumpling Gang, which was a commercial hit and also starred Conway and Knotts. Veteran TV director Vincent McEveety (“Superdad”/”Treasure of Matecumbe”/”Herbie Goes Bananas”) directs without distinction this overloaded physical comedy and Don Tait writes the genial screenplay with one pratfall after another. It was lushly filmed in Technicolor on Disney’s ranch, The Golden Oak Ranch, outside of Los Angeles, in a place called Pacerita, and also in the Kanab area of Utah.
Bumbling outlaws known as The Apple Dumpling Gang, Theodore (Don Knotts) and Amos (Tim Conway), decide to go straight as they ride together on their mule Clarise to a new town, Junction City, in the Old West. But they soon get mistaken for bank robbers by retarded bully Marshal Wooly Bill Hitchcock (Kenneth Mars) and go on the run, where they get into further trouble with the cavalry (they accidentally burn down the fort while serving punch), Indians and a gang with an insider in the cavalry who helps them rob the army’s supply and payroll shipments.
The limp comedy also has a limp romance between the pretty daughter named Millie (Elyssa Davalos) of the beset commandant of the frontier Fort Concho, Major Gaskill (Harry Morgan), and the film’s hero, a captain posing as a private, Private Reed (Tim Matheson), who is an undercover officer trying to find the army insider working with the thieves. Their romance blooms after a rough start, even though Millie is engaged to Lieutenant Ravencroft (Robert Pine). He’s the second in command to her father who is undermining her father’s command, and is the gang’s insider. This is the kind of silly stuff Abbott and Costello could crank out in a heartbeat without breaking a sweat, and took less time to deliver more laughs.
REVIEWED ON 5/21/2009 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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