On Again-Off Again Film Details
Overview: This wacky vaudeville-style romp casts the irreverent comedy team as feuding co-owners of a drug company.
Review: The slap dance is back in this second to last Wheeler and Woolsey comedy which features a few song numbers to liven it up and some of their most amusing later day routines. The art direction here also stands out a bit more, although it is obvious that this was a recycled set from one of RKO Radio’s “A” pictures, most likely one of the musicals that starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, especially the exorbitant office set and the massive mansion where Woolsey’s pill manufacturer lives. Opening up with a rousing musical number set amongst the bevy of secretaries and yes men working at Horton and Hobb’s company (Wheeler only added on the pink sugar coating), it quickly moves into displaying the hatred between the two businessmen who get down and dirty when Wheeler and Woolsey start their patty-cake/slap routine that is as funny as when they first did it on Broadway and in the movie version of “Rio Rita”. As corporate attorneys prepare, then rip up, dissolvement papers of their partnership, Wheeler and Woolsey continue to fight. The frustrated head attorney finally orders them to come to some decision of how to dissolve the partnership, and this leads to a comical wrestling match with Wheeler ending up as valet to the smug Woolsey. “That will cost you $100”, Woolsey retorts every time Wheeler insults him, giving him a sudden slap when he comes upon the picture of a mongoose which Wheeler called him days before. Also involved in the feud are Wheeler’s fiancée (a young Marjorie Lord) and Woolsey’s imperious wife (Esther Muir, his romantic interest in 1933’s “So This is Africa”), as well as Patricia Wilder as a femme fatal who flirts with both men. The attorneys, sick of the constant bickering, realize that they are worse as boss and butler and plot to get them back together. There’s quite a few laughs in the short running time, plus an early film appearance by Jack Carson as an irate cop who is pummeled on the head by a large document containing their dissolvement papers. Woolsey, who was apparently ailing at this time due to a kidney ailment which took his life in 1938, doesn’t let that show. Their next and last film, “High Flyers”, would be even funnier, which makes me wonder if they could have continued as a team had Woolsey not passed away while still in his prime.
Duration: 68 min
Genre: Comedy, Musical
Also known as: On Again-Off Again,Ora, Pílulas!,喧嘩商売