The Warner Archive June 6, 2018 DVD release of the 1935 vaudeville-style comedy "Baby Face Harrington" provides another chance to discover a B-movie with main-feature caliber social commentary. Like the recently reviewed 1932 comedy "The Fabulous Ferguson Case," the targets include yellow journalism.
The titular dangerous criminal is pathologically mild-mannered henpecked husband Willie Harrington. The pecker is socially ambitious wife Millicent Harrington, who desire to keep up appearances extend well beyond essentially a demand for a Mercedes. She also is very frustrated that Willie can not provide her a swimming pool and a house with a yard that is large enough for a pony.
Charatcer actor Charles Butterworth does a great job playing Willie as cross between Pa Kettle and Jerry Lewis on massive doses of Valium. Fellow trouper Una Merkel does just as well portraying Millicent as a cross between Gracie Allen and Joan Crawford. Together, they prove themselves very capable portrayers of a film or radio middle-class married couple,
The hilarity begins from the start when Millicent literally and figuratively takes Willie outside his comfort zone. She literally drags him to a party and adds insult to that injury by pressuring him to perform in front of the group. He essentially ends up with egg on his face despite bringing home the bacon.
This taste of the good life (including a still-interested former suitor) prompts a passive-aggressive attempt to persuade Willie to request a raise. This leads to the sits of cashing in his life insurance and having his boss seize an opportunity that sets the stage for the rest of the com in the film.
A wacky misunderstanding that comically escalates ultimately leads to an unfortunate incarceration; This occurring during a slow news period is responsible for out poor dope literally becoming front-page news. This, of course, leads to events that culminate in a wild chase that ends with liberty for some and justice for all.
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