Review of Don Knotts Reluctant Hero Pack (The Ghost And Mr. Chicken / The Reluctant Astronaut / The Shakiest Gun In The West / The Love God?) (1969)
A collection of four of Don Knotts movies from the 1960’s—the best known is The Ghost and Mr. Chicken but all four provide solid laughs. The most unusual is The Love God? – a satire on American culture’s preoccupation with sex, the so-called sexual revolution, and American society. In short, it’s a collection of four very funny Don Knotts comedies for less than $10.00. Who could ask for more? (more…)
The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968) starring Don Knotts, Barbara Rhoades
In short, The Shakiest Gun in the West is a very funny Don Knotts movie. Set in the American Old West, Don plays the part of Jesse W. Haywood, a recent graduate from Dentistry school, who is going out west to make his fortune. His final exam in dentistry school is funny, as is his boarding the train out West. Along the way, his stagecoach is held up by two robbers (his reaction being very funny in itself) — and one of the two robbers is a lovely woman, “Bad Penny” Cushing (Barbara Rhoades). She is soon arrested, and given an opportunity for a pardon in exchange for infiltrating a wagon train heading out west and breaking up a ring of gun smugglers.
The agent who was going to pose as her husband is murdered. So she sets her sights on the first available single man— Don Knotts! After a rocky introduction, the beautiful Penny has our hero besides himself, pretending to have a toothache, and soon has them both in front of a preacher, getting married — despite the groom’s protests. Sealed with a kiss, the newlyweds join the wagon train — and along with the audience, they meet various members of the wagon train, including the gun runners: a pretend “preacher” (Don ‘Red’ Barry) and his minion, Jackie Coogan. (more…)
The Reluctant Astronaut (1967) starring Don Knotts, Leslie Nielsen
Don Knotts takes his ‘nervous fraidy-cat’ character to outer space (or at least to orbit) in this funny, family-friendly comedy. The Reluctant Astronaut begins with Roy Fleming (Don Knotts in the title role) appears to be in a space capsule orbiting the earth—until the camera zooms out, and reveals that instead, he’s operating a kiddie ride at an amusement park. (more…)
The Prize Fighter, co-starring Tim Conway and Don Knotts
The Prize Fighter is a very funny, very sweet comedy. Set in Depression-era America, Tim Conway stars as Bags Collins who has a perfect record as a boxer – twenty fights, twenty knockouts—and twenty losses. His manager, Shakes, is the ‘brains’ of the team, played by Don Knotts. (more…)
The Private Eyes (1980), co-starring Tim Conway and Don Knotts
Don Knotts and Tim Conway co-star in The Private Eyes – a silly little comedy where they spoof the murder mystery in general, and Sherlock Holmes in particular. Called from Scotland Yard, Inspector Winthrop (played by Don Knotts), and his bumbling assistant Dr. Tart (played with mindless abandon by Tim Conway) to solve the murder of Lord Morely, the plot begins to resemble “Ten Little Indians” as people are killed off, one by one, with a not-quite-rhyming note left behind by the murderer. (more…)
How to Frame a Figg, starring Don Knotts
How to Frame a Figg is a long-time favorite Don Knotts movie. Don stars as Hollis Figg, one of the bookkeepers for the small, but corrupt, town of Dalton. In an attempt to frame someone else for their own shenanigans, the town leaders purchase a second-hand mainframe computer and fire everyone except Figg, who becomes responsible for running the computer, as well as becoming the fall guy for the town’s financial corruption —hence, the title. As you can likely guess, Don Knotts fights back in his own jittery way, eventually winning the day and the girl. (more…)
Walt Disney’s Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo has three major plots running through it. First is Jim Douglas (Dean Jones) attempting to resuscitate his racing career with the help of his mechanic Wheely Applegate (Don Knotts) at a race in Europe, hence the ‘Monte Carlo’ of the title. In addition, a pair of thieves (played by Bernard Fox and Roy Kinnear) have stolen a large diamond from a museum, and hide the stolen jewel in Herbie’s gas tank to escape detection. And providing motivation for them and police inspectors to chase Herbie on the prolonged race route. Complicating these two is Herbie himself falling in love with another car, a Lancia that’s owned by a beautiful female race driver (Julie Sommars), whom Jim Douglas begins falling in love with.
The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979) starring Don Knotts, Tim Conway, Harry Morgan
In The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, Amos and Theodore (Tim Conway and Don Knotts) the two bumbling outlaw wannabees from The Apple Dumpling Gang are back. They are trying to make it on their own. When they arrive at the town they are going to, all sorts of things go awry. They accidentally subdue the town’s legendary lawman, Wooly Bill Hitchcock thus enraging him into tracking them down. They also are accused of bank robbery. And they “enlist” in the army, and burn down the fort. Amid all this the army is besieged by someone stealing their supplies. (more…)
Walt Disney’s The Apple Dumpling Gang, starring Don Knotts, Tim Conway, Bill Bixby, Susan Clark – DVD review
Many people who were children during 1975 will remember Walt Disney’s The Apple Dumpling Gang with fondness. The basic plot involves three orphans, who become the responsibility of Russell Donovan (played by Bill Bixby). He’s a bachelor and small-time con artist who wants nothing more than to be free of them. After spending time trying to foist the children upon someone else, it’s found out that they own the deed to a gold mine, formerly thought to be worthless, but that produced a sizable nugget of gold after an earthquake.
Now the townspeople are interested in the children, including a pair of inept thieves, played hilariously by Don Knotts and Tim Conway. The only person who truly cares for the children (besides Donovan, who’s slowly growing attached to the “three little swindlers” ) is Magnolia “Dusty” Clydesdale (Susan Clark), the inevitable love interest.
So, how does the movie hold up after 30 years? Surprisingly well! Don Knotts and Tim Conway remain two of the funniest screen clowns, playing dim-witted buffoons well. The romance drags a little, and the children are perhaps too cute, but it’s well worth watching. Another point in its favor is the portrayal by Harry Morgan as an old West Sheriff and Judge, funny in the extreme.(more…)
The Incredible Mr. Limpet, starring Don Knotts
The Incredible Mr. Limpet is a very funny, entertaining film, starring Don Knotts as the mild-mannered Henry Limpet. Set during World War II, the patriotic Mr. Limpet, an avid fan of fish, tries to enlist in the Navy, only to be rejected due to his poor eyesight. A wish magically comes true, and Henry Limpet is turned into a fish.
He becomes the Navy’s secret weapon during World War II, single-handedly (or in his case, single-fin-edly) protecting America’s shores from German U-boat submarine attacks, as well as helping the Navy with the invasion of Normandy, courtesy of an undersea “roar” that can stop a torpedo. (more…)