"Back in the day...you didn't have to drink semen to get a laugh!"
Here's a cute little slapstick comedy from 1945 I came across one night. It runs about 75 minutes and is so light and frothy that you could probably use it as a dessert topping. Although I'm certainly no expert on movies from this genre, I am somewhat familiar with these kinds of old-fashioned comedies of errors. And while it's certainly no classic, fans of old-time sweet comedies could do a lot worse than to search this one out.The story follows the manic exploits of a young anesthesiologist named Ken and his desperate attempts to retrieve a dainty little garter belt from a former flame. (That would be Gertie.) Of course the good-natured doctor can't let his wife know about the existence of such a naughty bauble. And since the local District Attorney needs the garter as evidence in a robbery case, things get more than a little hairy for Ken. His constant attempts to retrieve the garter fail at every turn, culminating in one of those "everyone running around this house, hiding in closets and climbing down drainpipes" scenario. (As this movie is based on a stage play, it's understandable why there are so few scenery changes.)
What's most entertaining about watching little-known films like this one is that you get a glimpse of what life was like back then. It was a much more naive era, one in which you wouldn't hear too many discussions about the President's sex-life or TV advertisements for penis enlargement devices. It's this very innocence that makes these older films so entertaining, as you're alternately entertained by the exploits of the movie and also stunned at how quaint everyone's sensibilites are.
The crux of the entire plot of Getting Gertie's Garter hinges upon Ken's refusal to mention a ladies garter belt in a public forum. Think about that. If this movie were made today, Ken would have the garter after 12 seconds, and there'd still be 90 minutes left over for poop jokes, cleavage shots and a half-dozen sex scenes.As a time capsule to a simpler time, Getting Gertie's Garter is a pleasant enough distraction. It has the trademark rapid-fire dialogue so prevalent in Hollywood's Golden Days, and Dennis O'Keefe offers a great performance as the eternally befuddled Ken. (He's could be Jim Carrey's long-lost grandfather!) And although this movie's stage-play roots are readily apparent, it still flows well and offers a solid handful of laughs.