Earthworm Tractors

This is a 1936 comedy about a chap who thinks he is a great salesman, which he is not, but through a comedy of errors becomes one.

Actually, the main character, Alexander Potts is his name, is more of a fraudster and pathological liar, but because he is polite, funny, and lovable all is forgiven. In order to get a job for the Earthworm Tractor company he lies about his past, claims he is an expert tractor mechanic, and says he is also the best salesman in the world. And without actually being told if he has the job or not he goes about selling the company’s tractors.

This is described as a slapstick comedy on the interwebs, but I would not call it that as he is not a Buster, Harold, or Charlie. He is more of a Frank Spencer type character, well meaning but he leaves a path of destruction behind him. The actor playing Alexander Potts has a huge smile, it is quite impressive.

joeebrown

There are a few well done stunts though, mostly involving Alexander trying to drive a caterpillar tractor and the destruction he causes. One scene in particular involves him driving over a very rickety wooden bridge which falls apart behind him. It is quite incredible stuff, and there is also dynamite being exploded throughout the scene also. There does not appear to be anyone on the tractor in this scene, but still, it is quite something to watch.

The actor playing Alexander Potts was Joe E. Brown who had a very long career in film and television. He is best known for his role in Some Like It Hot as an ageing millionaire, and especially for this scene where he says the punchline “Well, nobody’s perfect”, which is supposed to be one of the greatest punchlines ever. He also did a lot of work in World War Two entertaining troops overseas, and was the first to do so. He did that again in the Korean War. He also adopted two children that were refugees from Europe.

From Wikipedia: On his return to the States, he brought sacks of letters, making sure they were delivered by the Post Office Department. He gave shows in all weather conditions, many in hospitals, sometimes doing his entire show for a single dying soldier. He would sign autographs for everyone. Brown was one of only two civilians to be awarded the Bronze Star in WWII.

Quite a guy.

This is not essential viewing for fans of old comedies, but I did find it entertaining, partly because of Joe E. Brown, and because of some of the crazy stunts that would just not be possible today.

Date watched: August 8th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2016: 126

earthworm-tractors

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