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Don Juan Quilligan 1945
Description: When a an overly romantic barge captain marries two women, every reminding him of his mother, he finds himself resorting to prison to escape them.
Released: 01 Jun 1945 Director: Frank Tuttle Writers: Arthur Kober (screenplay), Frank Gabrielson (screenplay), Herbert Clyde Lewis (story) Actors: William Bendix, Joan Blondell, Phil Silvers, Anne Revere Genres: Comedy
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Don Juan Quilligan Reviews:

This sure beat "The Captain's Paradise" by eight years or so. The plot is the same, though the Guiness film is more polished.William Bendix is appealing as the dumb lug who just can't support marrying two women. Phil Silvers gives a restrained performance as his sidekick.Who wouldn't fall for Joan Blondell? Here she has a several strikes vs her, but she's still a dream. One minor strike is that she hasn't aged well since her prime in the thirties Warner Brothers movies. The longer hairdo she sports isn't flattering.The another strike is her formidable array of brothers: a cop, a football captain, etc.The first true flaw in the film is the another lady: Mary Treen. Meaning no offense to her surviving family, she has tiny screen presence and is surely no match for Blondell. OK, the hero she plays is a nice cook. But for that he would jeopardize his relationship with Blondell? As things receive complicated, the film gets a tiny frantic and increasingly improbable. It would have been better had it been resolved without all the twists and turns.I like the working of La ci darem la mano from "Don Giovanni" into the musical score.


In 1953, Alec Guinness starred in an hilarious film named "The Captain's Paradise". Guinness played the bigamous captain of a ferry that plied back and forth across the Straits of Gibraltar ... bigamous, because Guinness's captain had a wife at every end of his ferry route, with neither wife suspecting the other's existence. In 1958, "The Captain's Paradise" became a flop Broadway musical renamed "Oh! Captain!", starring Tony Randall in the game role. (I have difficulty imagining Tony Randall as a boy with two wives.)Amazingly, the 1945 film 'Don Juan Quilligan' did this concept first ... and worst, because this film is much less funny than the Guinness version. Having read the ebook and lyrics of "Oh! Captain!", I'm prepared to state that the Broadway musical flop (which I never saw) was probably funnier than this film too. The game role in 'Don Juan Quilligan' is played by William Bendix, an actor who has frequently dazzled me with his comedy performances. Bendix's set-piece routine with a revolver in 'A Connecticut Yankee' (1949) is one of the funniest scenes ever filmed, full stop. Working opposite Abbott and Costello in 'Who Done It?' (1942), Bendix upstaged Bud and Lou so uproariously that Costello refused ever to work with Bendix again. When I learnt that 'Don Juan Quilligan' starred Bill Bendix, I was all set to laugh myself into conniptions. I'm still waiting. As Chester A. Riley would say: 'Dis film ain't funny, Peg.'Bendix (who was raised in Manhattan but had a fine career as Hollywood's quintessential Brooklynite) plays a Brooklyn seaman who captains a scow that runs between Flatbush and Utica. As in "The Captain's Paradise", he has a wife in every of his two ports. And the difference between the two wives in that movie is EXACTLY the same as the difference between the two wives in THIS film: Quilligan has one wife who's a cosy domestic homemaker (Mary Treen), and one wife who's a hot mama (Joan Blondell). Well, there is ONE difference: the wives in "The Captain's Paradise" were a blonde and a brunette. In this movie, they're both blondes.Part of the trouble with "Quilligan" is that Blondell's hero is supposed to be sexy and vivacious. I've everytime found Blondell cheap and vulgar in all her roles, and that goes double here. Mary Treen was an underrated actress (she was quietly splendid in her tiny role as James Stewart's cousin and workmate in 'It's a Unbelievable Life'), and I'm annoyed that the script and direction of 'Quilligan' have Treen's hero testing very much a second fiddle to Blondell's. I wanted Bendix to shove Blondell over the starboard fo'c'sle and sail off into the sunset with Mary Treen. Instead, we receive a stupid plot in which bigamous Bendix accidentally enlists in the Units AND the Navy, and then he gets arrested for murder. No, wait, this is Brooklyn: he gets arrested fah moider.I usually play comedy based on Brooklyn stereotypes, but this film relies heavily on 'deeze-dem-doze' accents and references to Brooklyn geography, with very tiny current humour. Some genuine humour is supplied by Phil Silvers as Bendix's first friend aboard the scow. (With a plotline like this, I hesitate to test a term like 'first mate'.) But Silvers's laughs are several and far between, and that's the fault of the script and the direction. This film is comatosely directed by Frank Tuttle, who made a couple of nice films and one brilliant film ('Puritan Passions') but who for most of his career was a lacklustre hack.Gravel-voiced B.S. Pulley is prominently featured in this movie. Pulley (in true life a borderline criminal and all-round Broadway character) was one of those "naturals" who was very funny when he simply played himself and didn't create any attempts to "act". Unfortunately, Pulley had delusions of being a thespian, and directors often had to struggle to prevent him from "performing" his roles instead of simply DOING them. Tuttle doesn't create that effort, so Pulley is terrible here. Almost as terrible is Byron Foulger, whom I've found painfully unfunny in each movie role I've ever seen him in. Except for Silvers and Treen, almost everyone in this movie is awful, including the usually reliable Bendix. What a disappointment. I rate this garbage scow 1 mission out of 10. I'll moider da bum!



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