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Kentucky Kernels Blu-ray Review

Kentucky

Spanky steals “Kentucky Kernels.”

At the start of 1934’s “Kentucky Kernels,” the unemployed vaudeville magic act duo (Elmer and Willie) find themselves in a rut. After saving a wealthy lovesick man (Jerry), however, their lives take a different turn. The 2 set out to adopt a child (Spanky) for Jerry, but Jerry reconnects with his love and goes off to marry her leaving the two to take care of the child together. It turns out Spanky has inherited an estate in Kentucky and so all 3 of them head there. Alas, it is not a warm welcome as the 3 find themselves embroiled in a deadly family between the Milfords and Wakefields. Worse still, Willie finds himself falling for Gloria…who happens to be a member of the Wakefield family. 

Going into “Kentucky Kernels,” I was curious to see the comedy duo Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey in action. I had long been familiar with them, but, I don’t believe, I had ever seen any of their work until now strangely. As introductions go, this is a fun comedy classic that is part comedic take on the Hatfield and McCoy rivalry and part babysitting job gone awry. Sure, some of the material hasn’t aged well and the script by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby and Fred Guiol isn’t exactly high art, but as a slice of slapstick comedy, it works. The grouchy, bespectacled, cigar smoking Robert Woolsey and the dopey Bert Wheeler play well off each other. There’s also plenty of visual gags (ala the rubber hand, drunk horse and raspberry bits) that are sure to elicit laughs.Plus, Margaret Dumont shows up! Yes, it’s weird to see her in a non Marx Bros. comedy but it’s also delightful at the same time.

The real scene stealer here though is George “Spanky” McFarland. Yep, Spanky from “Our Gang” has a sizable role as the often destructive kid appropriately named Spanky. Even though you can see many of his comedic moments coming from a mile away, it’s still fun to watch.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? This is a grand hi-def transfer.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A satisfactory 2.0 track.

Extras include a B&W Looney Tunes short called “Buddy’s Circus” and 2 Popeye toons titled “The Dance Contest” and “Sock-A-Bye, Baby.”

August 27, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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