Sunday, December 18, 2016

Vincente Minnelli takes on Lucy & Desi with "The Long, Long Trailer"

Many thanks to Michaela and the Love Letters to Old Hollywood blog for giving us the opportunity to write a little about the charming 1953 comedy The Long, Long Trailer as a part of the Vincente Minnelli Blogathon taking place this weekend.  Be sure to visit her site and all the other terrific entries in this event!

For a TV blog like The Flaming Nose, writing about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz is second nature.  Especially for somebody who's a Baby Boomer, the ubiquitous presence of I Love Lucy on the TV set for the past 60 years is a given.  We grew up with Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and certainly spent our childhoods -- at least I did -- watching each episode countless times and never tiring of a single one.  

To place The Long, Long Trailer in its proper time-frame, the series I Love Lucy started on network TV in the fall of 1951.  That same year writer Clinton Twiss published a novel called The Long, Long Trailer about the comic misadventures of a couple who buy a huge travel trailer. (You can read the novel here.)  Three years after Lucy's debut, MGM -- the studio where both Ball and Arnaz starred and co-starred in many films years before their TV super success -- tapped acclaimed director Vincente Minnelli to helm the lavish Technicolor comedy.  

Minnelli, skilled in directing all genres, had the genius and nuance necessary to translate the enormous TV appeal of Lucy and Desi to the big screen, and without losing the sense that you were still watching the Ricardos even though in The Long, Long Trailer their names are Tacy and Nicky.  Viewers who had fallen in love with Lucy's antics in I Love Lucy wouldn't be disappointed with this super-sized version of their favorite and seeing the Lucy/Ricky duo in glorious Technicolor was a big plus.  

Really, The Long, Long Trailer is all about watching Lucy and Desi go through their well-known and loved paces.  Nicky is not far from Ricky as he is overwhelmed by Tacy's enthusiasm at the idea of trailer life even as he's intimidated by the sheer enormity of the beast he's about to have tethered to the back of their car.  There's a recurring comic riff about the intricate process necessary to brake the trailer to a stop, as well as the to-be-expected and hilarious problems parking and merely driving the 40-foot monstrosity over the picturesque scenery in the movie.  

There is considerable comedy in these sequences but also some genuine tension that goes along with it. It's not only plenty difficult maneuvering that huge trailer but also not so easy getting along with a brand-new spouse in extremely close quarters.  In that sense this is much more than I Love Lucy writ large, it's a fully-developed storyline that fleshes out the characters and takes them through some heartache as well. (In terms of funny, watch for great Desi vs. the shower scene, Lucy cooking, falling in mud -- all the classic stuff!)

One of the genuine pleasures in The Long, Long Trailer is the snazzy mid-century American style seen to great advantage in the lovely color photography.  Truly scrumptious! Also delightful is the cadre of character actors who are seen throughout the film, including Marjorie Main, Keenan Wynn, Madge Blake, Herb Vigran and many more.  This is a real time machine of visual delights.  

And it's absolutely watchable, especially so for fans of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz but also just as an example of a full-blown Hollywood Grade A comedy, and that's a special commodity.  Even sans the I Love Lucy studio audience laughter (which you might miss a little during the slapstick moments), The Long, Long Trailer clearly delivers all the inherent humor.  The presence of Vincente Minnelli made the movie more than it would have been under a lesser director -- more well-rounded, more human, more touching.  

You can watch The Long, Long Trailer here online.  

Thanks again to Love Letters to Old Hollywood for bringing the Vincente Minnelli Blogathon to life!  

And for a hilarious parody of the sequence in the film when Lucy and Desi sing "Breezin' Along with the Breeze" you are guaranteed to enjoy this from the Punchy Players:


Caftan Woman said...

Not the first movie that comes to mind when one things of Minnelli, but it really is fun and, as you say, a 50s visual treat. Good call and good article.

Michaela said...

You hit all of the hightlights, from the direction to the cast to the script. The Technicolor is just divine, too. It is a bit weird not to hear the studio audience in spots, but that's probably because I've seen I Love Lucy so many times. Thank you for contributing such a good article! This film needed to be represented, in my opinion!

LĂȘ said...

Great review! I've been meaning to watch this movie since it was featured in TCM's Slapstick course. You can't go wrong with Lucy, Desi AND Minnelli! Thanks for the link!
Don't forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! :)

essay best said...

Old is gold. This is just the right saying. The old comedy films still gives you a laugh. This is particulalry a nice comedy film from the old times which gives you a chance to enjoy the hilarious characters.

Sophie Grace said...

Really impressed! Everything is very open and very clear clarification of issues. It contains truly facts. Your website is very valuable. Thanks for sharing pikview

anika kennedy said...

If you want your assignment paper to be different from others, then you need to personalize your assignments with different content such as containing facts and data. My Assignment Experts have the team of highly experienced assignment help experts who fulfill all the university guidelines to provide the best quality content. You will get the best dissertation proposal help from them that will help you to score the perfect grades.

anika kennedy said...

Thankyou! Excellent information for me! Writing a dissertation is no easy task. It has a high degree of abstraction and needs a lot of factually correct data. It takes a lot of time to be frank and most of the students don’t have that knowledgege. Our top assignment experts can solve most of their problems of dissertation proposal help as they have all the knowledge and skills to provide the best quality dissertation paper to students.

sagar said... is a platform where you can Find Contact Information for all the airlines, Assistance with booking your flights, and vacation packages easily. It helps you to save both, your money and your time.

Delta Airline Reservations

Southwest Airlines Reservations

Unknown said...

Gangaramaya temple is not only a temple - it is about 150 years old and almost all of its area is littered with museum artifacts and older and somewhat random gifts like wrist watches, money, and artwork.

First setup by Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala, it has gotten some flack for wanting to become both a Buddhist temple and a tourist attraction, however we all believe that it has got an extremely distinctive charm of its own.

delta airlines book a trip
emirates cancellation 24 hours
american airlines get human
delta airline ticket number

domyassignmentforme said...

It's not close to as successful as one would want it to be for one explanation or the other. Hence, to track down a successful guide that is promptly accessible consistently and compelling, you need to keep your pursuit to a quite certain coach.
Do My Online Accounting Homework

Case study helper said... is now providing case study help to all students. Students have rated us to be one of the best Case study helper. We are cheap and affordable and are available 24/7 round the clock. Our professionals and subject-oriented experts are here to provide students with appropriate themes and information which are always 100% fresh and plagiarism-free. We always ensure on-time submission of information and case study research studies to all students.

James Alter said...

What makes Delta Airlines so great is the fact that the airline provides great customer service over the phone and online. You will find Delta Airlines Office in Kampala. Delta has deployed a team of experts in its office that has answers to all the questions and queries of customers.

QuickBooks Support Number said...

Nice Blog !
Our experts at QuickBooks Customer Service aren't just 9 to 5 but even work in the late hours of the night for our clients in this financial crisis.