Friday, May 18, 2018

'The Undie-World' is fun, but surprisingly mild

The Undie-World (1934)
Starring: June Brewster, Carol Tevis, Grady Sutton, Big Boy Williams, Dewey Robinson, and Will Stanton
Director: George Stevens
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

A gangster (Williams) recruits a violinist (Sutton) to help him impress a pair of sexy roommates (Brewster and Tevis) who live in the apartment across the courtyard from his, by showing them that he's sophisticated and romantic. The girls, however, end up falling for the dorky musician, assuming he's a dangerous Bad Boy. In an effort to salvage his plan, the gangster suggests the four of them go on a double-date. A comedy of errors ensues.

"The Undie-World" is a surprisingly mild, almost sweet little film, given the title and subject matter. In fact, I can't imagine a more wholesome film where the majority of the main characters are on the make. It's got slapstick, it's got puns, it's got class-based humor... but what it doesn't have is any double-entrendres or anything from the blue category. We get within a mile of "mature" when June Brewster gets knocked down during her first encounter with Grady Sutton and her robe rides up to show some leg, but that's it. Everything though is well-staged and the actors are all perfect in their parts. For the dorky among us, the film even presents a little bit of wishfulfillment as it's the dorky violin teacher who gets the girl(s) in the end.

"The Undie-World" is the first film on the Blondes and Redheads: Lost Comedy Classics DVD collection, but it was the fourth in a series of films that were tied together by featuring as their central characters a pair of young women--one blonde, one redheaded. Although the same actors and actresses appeared in most of them, and usually played characters named after the performers, each film was actually about different characters. Some reviewers and websites about early Hollywood output seem to have missed this, eventhough it's obvious if one watches more than two of the films, and they treat this like a series. "Blondes and Redheads" wasn't even how the series was referred to Back in the Day; RKO's internal title for it was "Working Girls". The films themselves dont' carry any such indentifications, and they're only a "series" due to the troupe of actors that appear in all of them, sort of like the Laurel & Hardy comedy shorts are a series.)

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