Series: All Stars w/The Taxi Boys
Director: Del Lord
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: James Greene
Stars: Ben Blue, Billy Gilbert, Muriel Evans, Harry Woods, Tiny Sandford, James C. Morton, Sam Lufkin
Released: 22 October 1932
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: T-4
Filming dates: August 29 - September 2, 1932
NOT ON DVD
Cabbie Ben Blue is offered a $20 tip from a customer to take him to the First National Bank in 2 minutes. After Ben's excruiatingly over-long reaction he pushes the customer into the front of the cab and tells him to drive before realising his error and swaps places with him. Five seconds later they arrive at the bank, which is just across the road. Ben gleefully waves his tip around for all to see, including fellow cabbie Billy Gilbert. A con-man (Harry Bowen) seizes the opportunity to relieve him of the money with a believable-sounding scam when he asks the cabbie to change his two ten dollar bills for a five. It takes the dumb cabbies a few moments before they understand what just happened. Billy snatches the remaining ten dollar bill from Ben's hand but then it is just as quickly stolen from him by a monkey who takes it to a 'blind' man on the street. Having lost the twenty dollars Billy comes up with the idea of trying the scam trick on a rival cabbie (Sam Lufkin) using a five dollar bill, except he somehow manages to exchange his five dollars for the cabbie's two dollars.
Later, Ben arrives at the station with a beautiful passenger (Muriel Evans), who is late meeting her husband (Harry Woods). She gets stuck in the cab when her door won't open so Ben lifts her through the door and they fall in a heap on the sidewalk. This is all observed by the husband (who quite frankly has some serious anger issues) and a fellow train passenger (James C. Morton). The furious husband explodes when he sees his wife on the floor with the cabbie and promptly sets about wrecking the taxi with his bare hands. Billy Gilbert's "oh for goodness sake" is so unlike him!
Ben drives off with his lady passenger but they break down. When we see the revealing shot Ben is head-first in the engine with his legs sticking out the top. She switches on the engine at his request and Ben is blown out the back of the cab into the road. Further attempts to repair the cab leave Muriel covered in oil (there's a great moment when she pinches her breasts to highlight this!) She gets into the back of the cab and removes her clothing, handing her dress to an embarrassed Ben through the window. He shoves the dress into the gasoline line at the back of the cab to try and clean in, but being the "idiot" (-quote, Muriel Evans) that he is, he lights a match to check on it before Muriel intervenes, not wanting to be blown up! Instead, he sets fire to her dress.
Billy turns up in his wrecked cab and Muriel jumps into the back of it (this is a MUST WATCH scene if you love Muriel Evans!) As he drives away Muriel suddenly pops up (and almost out) in the back and engages conversation with the surprised Billy. After several revealing shots of her cleavage, she tells the driver to take her to her apartment. When they get there she gives Billy the key and tells him to fetch her coat from room 601, on account of her being undressed. He does as he is asked but finds the husband returning home and in a panic Billy steps into the bathroom and falls into the full-up bath. As the husband enters the bathroom Billy quickly improvises by pulling the shower curtain around him and assuming a false voice to impy that he is the man's wife. The husband has brought some flowers for her and offers them through the shower curtain, but what with it being Billy Gilbert on the receiving end, and his tendency for sneezing (something he was famous for) the inevitable happens. The husband then leaves.
Growing impatient, Muriel summons Ben to go up to her apartment to find out what is taking Billy so long. Ben walks into the apartment to find Billy on the other side of the door trying to keep it closed because he thinks it's the husband. After a tug-of-war with the door, eventually Ben and Billy reunite but soon end up in the bath together (another decent stunt by Blue in being under the water, faced-up and with the weight of Billy Gilbert sitting on him - credit where it's due). With the husband trying to get into the bathroom and the cabbies on the other side of the door pulling it shut to stop him from coming in, Muriel walks into the apartment, dressed with part of the bodywork from the taxi around her! Having finally sussed that the person(s) in the bathroom is not his wife, the husband pulls out a gun, shoots the cuckoo in the clock and threatens the cabbies on the other side of the door. Faced with limited options, the cabbies jump from the window when the gun-happy husband confronts them. Flying unconvincingly through the air, Ben and Billy end up landing in a large coffee cup on top of the roof of a nearby building, with "Drop in for hot coffee" painted on the side of it. It's a lucky escape for them.
Surprisingly for a Taxi Boys film, there are a few options here: Ben Blue getting sprayed with the oil from his taxi; or Billy Gilbert walking backwards into a bath are contenders, but it cannot be overlooked the bold performance from the beautiful Muriel Evans in that revealing dress of hers. She steals every scene and has the male viewers gagging for more and more!
• Released as part of the "All Star" banner, this was the third film in the Taxi Boys series to be released.
• When Ben Blue pulls up his taxi containing Muriel Evans he smashes into the back of a stationary cab. In the close-up next shot there appears to be a car parked directly behind him that wasn't there before.
• In the scene where Ben Blue is messing about trying to repair the cab and the oil shoots out, splashing Muriel Evans, his elbow presses onto her breast.
• After Ben Blue has splashed the oil onto Muriel's dress she calls him an idiot. Well, someone had to say it!
• After Muriel gets back into the cab, Ben prats about with the car and gets a face full of oil. You can hear somebody laugh off-camera.
• Credit must be given to Ben Blue for the stunt where he sets light to the dress whilst holding it. The flames go up pretty quick and he doesn't have much time to react before throwing it onto the ground. Blue also performs another good stunt later on as he is submerged in the bath with Billy Gilbert sitting on top of him.
• Muriel Evans' cleavage. Muriel Evans' cleavage. Muriel Evans' cleavage.
• Muriel instructs Billy Gilbert to take her to "Broken Arms apartment". This building name was used in a Laurel and Hardy film.
• When Billy Gilbert goes up to Muriel's apartment, he walks into the bathroom and falls backwards into the bath-tub, which is full with water. Why would you leave a bath with the water in it?
• I think perhaps Muriel's husband must be mad. He thinks his wife is in the bath and calls to her through the door to "put something on because I'm coming in!" Knowing Muriel Evans is probably naked, why on earth would any man want her to get dressed?!
• When Muriel walks into the apartment as her husband is trying to gain access to the bathroom, the doorknob is rolling around on the floor at the very start of the scene.
What the experts say
• "Harry Wood punches Ben Blue in the face, and Muriel Evans calls him an idiot. There's two reasons to enjoy the film right there, but the show stopper is Muriel Evans when she loses her dress. Unbelievable." ~ Lord Heath.
Harry, Muriel's husband
|James C. Morton
Blocker Cab Company cabbie
Con man's friend
|MURIEL EVANS MONTAGE
|SHOT ON THE LOT
The following scenes were filmed on the Hal Roach Back Lot and are included in the TOUR
(click any image to enlarge)
|SHOT ON LOCATION
(click image to enlarge)
Richard Finegan (still)
This page was last updated on: 22 October 2019