In Old California

Check out the seahorse cutouts on the barroom doors: John Wayne in In Old California (dir. William C. McGann, 1942).

Most of this is standard-issue Hollywood oater--and there's nothing wrong with that! What's special is Wayne as an almost dandyish Boston pharmacist (he modeled the role after his father, who was a druggist in Iowa). Albert Dekker is a fine and hapless villain (Harvey Korman is basically impersonating Dekker in Blazing Saddles), and the two main comic supports, Patsy Kelly and Edgar Kennedy, are very winning. Kelly's Helga takes down her laundry by shooting the clothespins, and Kennedy's Bottom-esque Kegs claims that he's generally "gentle as a mooing dove," but when his chronic toothache starts acting up, he's "liable to throw you off a cliff"--the pain turns him into a "long-haired sea lion" who goes around "roaring." Wayne: "Roaring?" Kennedy: "ROARING!"

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