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map06| Ma and Pa Kettle on Vacation
Director: Charles Lamont
Screenplay: Jack Henley
Producer: Aaron Rosenberg, Leonard Goldstein
Cast: Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride, Ray Collins, Bodil Miller, Sig Ruman
Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 76
Aspect Ratio:  1.37:1 (NTSC Flat Full Frame)
Sound: Dolby 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: Spanish, French
Features: The Franchise Collection, Vol. 2
Studio:  Universal Pictures DVD Region:  1 NR
DVD Release:  May 2004 Discs:  1 (DVD) []
Reviews:  Fifth in the Ma and Pa Kettle series, following their introduction to audiences in THE EGG AND I, this entry reunites the Kettles (Percy Kilbride and Marjorie Main) with their new snobbish in-laws, the Parkers (Ray Collins and Barbara Brown) from MA AND PA KETTLE BACK ON THE FARM, for an adventure set in Paris. The quality of the supporting cast is all that might be asked from Universal Studios, but the screenplay falls well below the comedic norm set by better examples from the Kettle canon. The Parkers have discarded their airs and have asked Ma and Pa to be their traveling companions to France after friends cancelled. During the flight to Paris, a mysterious seat mate of Pa Kettle gives him an envelope to keep for him, asking for Pa's promise to return it at the Louis Quatorze Hotel, where all primary parties in the plot will be staying. An espionage angle is soon introduced, with a pair of "Secret Service" men being assigned by the U.S. Embassy to guard the Kettles, Pa now holding a bogus replacement envelope as lure to foreign spies who are also tailing the farmer duo. In addition to these cloak and dagger shenanigans, the couples visit a nightclub where they see (and interfere with) a floor show and, at the hotel, Pa attempts to purchase "French postcards" at the request of Indian friends who are taking care of the Kettle farm during their Parisian junket. Charles Lamont effectively directed the first two Kettle amusements, but this time a weak scenario provides little with which he can lead, and the sight gags that Kilbride pulls off when he is at his best are simply tiresome (after the first scene) as the film declines too often into slapstick. There are bright notes: good supporting turns from Sig Ruman, Jay Novello and Ivan Triesault; burnished cinematography from George Robinson; and astonishing dresses created for Main by Rosemary O'Dell that bring a chuckle.

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