Combustible Celluloid
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With: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Marjorie Main, Keenan Wynn
Written by: Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, based on a novel by Clinton Twiss
Directed by: Vincente Minnelli
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 96
Date: 12/31/1953

The Long, Long Trailer (1954)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

But There's a Hitch

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

For some reason, I was expecting that this Vincente Minnelli comedy would be shot in Cinemascope; wouldn't that be the best format for a "long, long trailer"? But this Lucille Ball and Dezi Arnaz comedy was still a bit too early for that, and so Minnelli had to make do. (He switched to the new format on his next film, Brigadoon, and stuck to it.) The famous "I Love Lucy" TV show first began airing in 1951, so Lucy and Desi were a household item by this point, and their comedy style was equally familiar. In The Long, Long Trailer, Tacy (Ball) talks new husband Nicky (Arnaz) into buying the title behemoth and making it their permanent residence. It's basically episodes, with all manner of slapstick and squabbling. Nicky knocks down various posts, signs and walls trying to maneuver the giant beast. Lucy wants to collect big rocks, commemorating the places they've been, but of course they start to weigh down the trailer. The ordinarily graceful Minnelli tries his best to guide this material and he finally gets his momentum in a climactic sequence, of Nicky trying to drive over a steep mountain. During this Minnelli keeps things quiet, using a masterful sense of space and timing. But until then, it's a largely unfunny TV sitcom romp.

DVD Details: Warner Home Video has released The Long, Long Trailer as part of a three-disc Lucy & Desi box set, also featuring Too Many Girls and Forever Darling. The best bonus is a great "Droopy" cartoon by Tex Avery, Dixieland Droopy (1954). The film is also available separately.

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