Mexican Hayride (1948)

  • Year: 1948
  • Released: 01 Dec 1948
  • Country: United States
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  • IMDb:
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  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: Approved
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance
  • Runtime: 77 min
  • Writer: Oscar Brodney, John Grant, Herbert Fields
  • Director: Charles Barton
  • Cast: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Virginia Grey
  • Keywords: dancing, mexico, bullfighting, musician, con man, based on play or musical,
56% – Critics
56% – Audience

Mexican Hayride Storyline

Joe Bascom was implicated in an oil stock swindle in Iowa. He is pursued by authorities even though he was a victim, more than a perpetrator. He heads to Mexico where he believes Harry Lambert, the real con man, has gone. Once there, he finds Harry has helped a mutual acquaintance, Mary, become a toreador known as Montana. Harry, Dagmar (another woman) and Mary are in cahoots with Gus Adamson to launch a new silver mine scam in Mexico. The key to it is having Montana toss her hat to Gus in a promotion to select the Amigo Americana Week honoree. With all the planned appearances, it will make a perfect platform to pitch the phony stock. Mary sees Joe in the crowd and tosses the hat at him in a fit of anger. Suddenly, Joe is a celebrity. He changes his name to Humphrey Fish to stay away from two US policeman who are pursuing him. Harry manages to recruit Joe into their scheme, but they don’t count on his basic honesty. He keeps the money from the new stock sales to return to the investors. Dagmar tries to trick him into revealing where he hid the money but falls for him in the process. She takes it, but returns it to him in a bull ring, complete with a bull.—Garon Smith

Mexican Hayride Photos

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Mexican Hayride Movie Reviews

Classic Abbott and Costello

Two con men selling phony stock flee to Mexico ahead of the law, where they run into a woman friend from their earlier days, who is now a bullfighter.

The plots of the various movies don’t really matter one way or the other. What really matters are the gags. I loved the painting gag, even though I saw the punchline coming. And the Smith / Jones routine is the sort of back and forth people love from this duo (myself included).

I think the comedy duo tends to be best remembered today (2017) for their series of films meeting the Universal monsters. But let’s not forget some gems like this one, which has aged surprisingly well.

So It’s A Hayride

I don’t know why people think so poorly of this film. Although it seems a little odd the way it begins in the middle of the story, it ticks along at a good rate; Pat Costello has an effective repartee with Lou, which is very interesting; Luba Malina, Fritz Feld, Sid Fields and Chris-Pin Martin are all funny. Costello is over the top, yet seems lovable and genuine in this movie. There are no gratuitous musical numbers to FF through, but there are a couple of comic musical numbers. It does not have the slow moments or the maudlin handling they had in “Little Giant” (which does have some good moments, by the way); Lou keeps things moving, and I can count 10 good skits off the top of my head–the one with Lou preparing tortillas has something close to a spectacular ending…if only the plot hadn’t got in the way. Even the grand finale with a few rear-projections (and a “trained” bull) turns out pretty funny.

It’s the logical extension of Abbott’s character for him to be an all-around swindler, so that doesn’t bother me; their teamwork is still top-rate, and I’m happy to see Costello get the better of Abbott once in a while. It’s also relieving that in this context (and maybe an off-screen agreement?), Abbott refrains from slapping Costello, which would make his character unacceptable.

So spend a few bucks and watch it on DVD. Not a classic, but a good Sunday afternoon comedy with two comedians still at their peak of performance. And that’s not bad.

Stock Swindling Abbott Hornswaggles Samba Slave Costello

Before writing this review I took a look at George Eells biography of Cole Porter which has a good reference section listing his Broadway shows and original film productions.

To make this film fit for Abbott and Costello whole sections of the plot and entire characters were junked as well as Cole Porter’s entire musical score. The barebones of the book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields was retained and the whole business about stock swindling and the Amigo Americano was from the musical. For instance listed as characters in the play were the then Vice President of the United States Henry A. Wallace and the former King Carol of Rumania and his notorious mistress Madame Lupescu. I can’t even imagine what they might be doing as characters in an Abbott and Costello comedy.

Cole Porter’s scores rarely made it intact to the screen. Usually it was because of his risqué lyrics not playing well in Peoria. However as we learn it was simply because Abbott and Costello fans didn’t want their favorites clowning interrupted by musical numbers as they were in so many of their World War II era films.

If that’s the case why in heaven’s name did Universal buy Mexican Hayride and rework it for them? I’m sure there must have been any number of Cole Porter fans who wanted to see a film adaptation of one of his Broadway shows. Once they had bought their tickets and were seated in the movie house, they must have been sorely disappointed.

The boys have some good routines here, Costello has some funny moments in an interview with reporter Sid Fields and also with elocution teacher Fritz Feld. The highlight of the film of course is Costello in a bull ring trying to get money Abbott swindled in some watered stock case. Problem is the money is in a hat that was tossed in the ring and landed on the bull’s horns.

One routine they did was previously done in the Bing Crosby film Double Or Nothing by Martha Raye. Costello won a marathon dance contest doing the Samba for 36 hours and goes into autopilot the exact same way Martha Raye did in Double or Nothing.

It’s not the best film from Abbott and Costello and boy are those Cole Porter lovers in for a disappointment.