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Carolina Cannonball

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1955). Republic Pictures. Associate Producer: Sidney Picker. Directed by Charles Lamont. Written by Barry Shipman from a story by Frank Gill Jr. Cast includes Leon Askin, Judy Canova, Andy Clyde, Ross Elliott, Jack Kruschen and Sig Ruman. 73 minutes. Black and white.

In the ghost town of Roaring Gulch, Nevada, Judy (herself) and her grandfather Rutherford Canova (Clyde) are the only remaining residents. Nevertheless they maintain the Carolina Cannonball, a trolley train, in part because its boiler serves as a still for brewing Grandpa's homemade whiskey. When an atomic Rocket crashes nearby, they remove the nuclear engine and instal it in the Cannonball. This not only makes the train very much faster, but also improves the quality of Grandpa's liquor. Three comically inept Soviet spies arrive in search of the rocket: Hogar (Kruschen), Otto (Askin), and Stefan (Ruman). Needless to say, nobody is in any actual danger; after Judy does some musical numbers, the spies are captured with the help of US Federal agent Don Mack (Elliott).

Canova had been a minor musical and film star since the 1930s and was nearing the end of her career. Thanks to its quality character actors, including Askin and Kruschen, this slapstick comedy effort is slightly better than one might expect, with the nuclear rocket adding a mild sf slant to the proceedings. [GSt]


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