Tuesday, July 16, 2013

francis in the haunted house - 1956

i think i can honestly say, without any reservations, that francis in the haunted house is the best movie that i've ever seen that featured a talking mule investigating a murder in a haunted house.

i don't know if there's anything else i can say but i'll certainly give it a try. for those who may not be aware, francis the talking mule was apparently quite a hit back in the fifties. "he" starred in a series of seven movies, of which this is the last of the bunch. co-star mickey rooney, the human lead here, took over for donald o'connor, who played that role in the first six films. all of which took place, it should be noted, about five years before the debut of tv's (the famous) mister ed.

if you guessed that the proceedings take a rather lighthearted tone here, well duh. after witnessing a murder early on, francis enlists the help of rooney in investigating it. which leads to complications for the latter since the police are wondering how he came to know so much about the crime. since he can't really reveal where he got his info this leads to numerous scenes (overdone a bit, if you ask me) of rooney being hauled off to the police station and given the third degree. of course, everything gets sorted out in the end.

none of which makes for great art or even a particularly engaging mystery story but what would you really expect from a movie starring a talking mule? though i will say that if you can put your brain on hold for a while there are probably worse ways to spend about an hour and a half.