The Milkman (1950) Poster

(1950)

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Quite Funny
lzf07 July 2002
Donald O'Connor and Jimmy Durante star in this musical comedy concerning an ambitious milkman and his mentor. Universal was a good studio for O'Connor. They recognized his gifts for comedy, especially physical comedy, and gave him lots of opportunities to show his stuff. This is one of his last films before he moved on to bigger budget projects. However, it is in these budget minded Universal comedies that O'Connor really shines. Giving him Durante as his mentor adds to the comic possibilities. Durante was one of the most lovable comedians and this film gives him plenty of time to sing, strut, and do the kind of shtick he is most associated with. Piper Laurie, in a very early role, is a fine leading lady for O'Connor. She stays out of his way, which cannot be said for former leading lady Peggy Ryan. Jerry Lewis makes a very brief appearance as a milkman. For fans of low comedy hi-jinks, this film is a must see.
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8/10
one of my all time favorites
rosco20038 April 2006
I thought this movie was very entertaining. The music alone made it one of my all time favorites. I wish it would be released on DVD. I think that Donald O'Conner and Jimmy Durante played off of each other very well. It always took me back to a simpler time and place to that perfect world we all wished we lived in.If your looking for a movie that takes you to a place that sums up 1950's milk and cookies life style this is it. I seen this movie when I was about twelve and have always tried to watch it when ever it came on. I had the movie taped on VHS for a long time and let it go thinking it would be released on DVD in the near future.If your looking for a family movie that is entertaining and fun this is it.
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9/10
O'Connor, Durante and a self-driving milk truck save the day
weezeralfalfa21 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Since Peggy Ryan's retirement in '45, Don O'Connor had been paired with a variety of costars with musical, comedic or a vaudevillian combination of such talents: Deanna Durban, Lew Parker, Marjorie Main, Gloria DeHaven, Eve Arden, Gale Storm, and now the grand old vaudevillian master himself:Jimmy Durante. They made a great dramatic comedy team in this B&W film, not to mention their complementary musical skills which were put to use several times.In these musical comedies of the'late 40s and early '50s, Don nearly always played variations of the same basic character: a clumsy, nerdy, though energetic nobody, who nonetheless attracts the ardor of a pretty girl, and by sheer luck or help from a friend, saves the day in the end, to justify the firm commitment of his girl. Very Harold Lloyd-like, and thus old style comedy. Some years later, he would play Buster Keaton, a mostly silent film comedian, in "the Buster Keaton Story".

If I'm not mistaken, this was Durante's final Hollywood film, though he would continue on various TV shows. I haven't seen that many films including him, but suspect he had more screen time here than any other, along with being the most entertaining role I've seen him in. I'm sure Don's presence much contributed to that distinction. In contrast, this was young Piper Laurie's first film as the leading lady: O'Connor's forbidden girlfriend, as daughter of the owner of the chief rival of his father's milk processing and delivery business. Young Joyce Holden has a bit part as Ginger Burton, the most enigmatic character in the film. She starts out the film as Don's apparent girlfriend. But once Don and Piper connect, she only appears once more, as old Durant's date! This is indicative of the tangled relationships between the various main characters, which include: Henry O'Neill as Don's father, Mr. Bradley; Paul Harvey as Piper's father, Mr. Abbott; Elizabeth Risdon , as Mrs. Carter, chief spokeswoman for the shareholders of Abbott's company; Jess Barker, as her nephew John, manager of Abbott's company; and William Conrad, as Mike Morrel, trainer of new milkmen and head of a small group of gangsters, who are after John for his gambling debts to them.

Don's father won't let him hold a job, because he occasionally quacks like a duck when he gets excited, as a result of having spent long periods in WWII submerged in a marsh with a duck decoy on his head. But friend Breezy(Durante) helps him get a job as a milk delivery man at his father's rival company, which Breezy works for. After having problems with the delivery trainer, Don is given this job. Predictably, he has an endless string of mishaps on his route. He should have been fired a dozen times. But, friends Breezy and Piper help cover for him. Breezy has to be careful in trying to cover too much for Don because he is due to qualify for retirement in a few days and doesn't want to jeopardize his spotless record. Unfortunately, eventually he is implicated in a wacky apartment smokeout, instigated by Don, and fired. But Don, Breezy, and Piper, together with Breezy's self-driving truck that stops and starts in response to a whistle, uncover who is behind the theft of Mrs. Carter's very expensive necklace, along with attempt on her life with a revolver. With the help of Breezy's idiosyncratic truck, the ring of thieves is captured, Breezy gets his pension, Don gets his girl and stops quacking, and the two milk companies merge.

Although I'm sure that anthropomorphic autos must have long been included in cartoons, I'm not familiar with other films of this era featuring a self-driving vehicle that responds to signals from its owner.Of course, the Herbie films would later much expand on this theme. Durante's other '50 film: "The Great Rupert", featured an anthropomorphic squirrel and Don starred in the first of his Francis the talking mule series that same year.

In the music department, Durante does a typical Durante-composed and styled "Nobody Wants My Money", after a cursory flirtation with the plant girls: a self-deprecating boasting of his attractiveness to women as not based on his financial assets. Don follows with his solo "The Early Morning Song", which expresses his enthusiasm for his new early morning milk run. The Don-Piper and Durante-Joyce dating pairs separately sing and dance a bit to "It's Bigger Than Both of Us", with a romantic theme. Finally, Durante and Don collaborate in "That's My boy". Don didn't do any dance routine that further stretched his preparation for his later roles in major musicals, as he had in his prior "Are You With It" and "Feudin', Fussin' and A-fightin' ", for example.

Don reportedly didn't like Gene Kelly's domineering and perfectionist persona in the making of his most famous film role in "Singing in the Rain", a few years later. I'll bet he had a lot more fun working with Durante!

This film is presently available at You Tube, in 6 segments. That's good if you want an occasional break. I can only hope that Universal will some day bring out an O'Connor DVD set which includes all of his very good but forgotten films of the late '40s and early '50s.We are fortunate that most of these have, in recent times, become available at You Tube
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