WATCH THE BIRDIE (aka: THE CAMERAMAN) (director: Jack Donohue; screenwriters: Devery Freeman/Harry Ruskin/Ivan Tors/based on a story by Marshall Neilan Jr.; cinematographer: Paul C. Vogel; editor: John Faure/Ferris Webster/Robert Watts; music: Georgie Stoll; cast: Red Skelton (Rusty Cammeron/Pop Cammeron/Grandpop Cammeron), Arlene Dahl (Lucia Corlane), Red Skelton (Pop Cammeron), Ann Miller (Miss Lucky Vista), Leon Ames (Grantland D. Farns), Pam Britton (Mrs. Shanway), Richard Rober (Mr. Hugh Shanway), Dick Wessel (Man Who Undresses); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry Ruskin; Warner Home Video (MGM); 1950)
“Watch the Birdie is a dreadful strained comedy that was inspired by Buster Keaton’s great The Cameraman (1928).”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Watch the Birdie is a dreadful strained comedy that was inspired by Buster Keaton’s great The Cameraman (1928). Jack Donohue(“Babes in Toyland”/”Lucky Me”/”The Yellow Cab Man”) directs without passion for the project. The writers Devery Freeman, Harry Ruskin and Ivan Tors base it on the story by Marshall Neilan Jr..
Photographer Rusty Cammeron (Red Skelton) meets the wealthy heiress Lucia Corlane (Arlene Dahl) and saves her from a crook, as the bumbler inadvertently filmed a conversation about a scam involving Leon Ames.
The comedy doesn’t work. Only a mobile lumber loader chase finale in the country does something with this cornball comedy, that might register with some Skelton folks. Skelton mistakenly plays three members of his family (himself, his father and grandfather), proving he’s far from a great actor.
Ann Miller plays a beauty contest winner, in a small wasted part.
REVIEWED ON 4/18/2016 GRADE: C-