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SHOW-OFF, THE (director: Harry Beaumont; screenwriter: George Wells/play by George Kelly; cinematographer: Robert Planck; editor: Douglas Biggs; music: David Snell; cast: Red Skelton (Aubrey Piper), Marilyn Maxwell (Amy Fisher), Leon Ames (Frank Harlin), Jacqueline White (Clara Harlin), Marjorie Main (Mrs. Fisher), Marshall Thompson (Joe Fisher), George Cleveland (Pop Fisher), Eddie “Rochester” Anderson (Rochester), Virginia O’Brien (Hortense), Wilson Wood (Horace Adams); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Albert Lewis; MGM; 1946)
“There’s nothing to show-off about this unfunny obnoxious comedy-romance.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Inconsequential comedy vehicle for Red Skelton. There’s nothing to show-off about this unfunny obnoxious comedy-romance. It’s based on the famous 1924 Broadway play by George Kelly which starred Louis John Bartels; it’s a remake of the 1926 silent version with Ford Sterling and the 1934 one with Spencer Tracy.

It’s set in Philadelphia. Aubrey Piper’s (Red Skelton) workplace friend Horace fixes him up with an attractive blonde blind date named Amy Fisher (Marilyn Maxwell), who reminds him of Lana Turner. She falls madly in love with him even though he’s a braggart motormouth who tries to impress others by showing off and exaggerating his deeds. Invited to a Sunday family dinner, Pop Fisher (George Cleveland) dismisses him as a loudmouth buffoon and Mom Fisher (Marjorie Main) calls him a pest. Amy’s younger brother, a scientific inventor, thinks he’s weird. At one point he interferes with an experiment of Joe’s and nearly burns down the house. Amy’s married sister Clara (Jacqueline White) tries her best to go along with sis’s choice, and encourages her businessman husband Frank (Leon Ames) to also despite Frank discovering he’s only a lowly clerk and not the manager of the plant he’s passing himself off as. Not listening to her family’s warnings, Amy marries the blowhard and discovers he can’t change his ways. Acting in an irresponsible manner he brings financial ruin to himself and nearly to everyone else in the family. He borrows Horace’s car and gets into a traffic accident and severely injures a traffic cop (now, that was real funny!) and gets fined a thousand dollars when it’s found he was driving without a license. Frank pays the fine keeping him out of jail. Joe has a deal with a chemical firm to sell his anti-rust formula to them for $30,000, but Aubrey interferes asking for $100,000 and they cancel the deal. But through a strange bit of luck, things work out and Aubrey recovers from his one second of being humble to once again blow his own horn.

If you don’t find Red to be likable, you won’t get past seeing him as a completely annoying character and will dismiss the time-worn film as worthless.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”