THE 30-FOOT BRIDE OF CANDY ROCK
The Abbott and Costello genre entries of the late 1940s/early 1950s were based around the Famous Monsters that Universal had been created in the 1930s. By the 1950s, new fears were on the horizon of alien invaders and atomic monsters and the Universal monsters suddenly became outdated. Abbott and Costello had endeavoured to climb aboard the science-fiction boom once before in the outer space comedy Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953). In his solo effort here, Lou Costello owes an even greater debt of inspiration to the 1950s SF boom namely that The 30-Foot Bride of Candy Rock is a blatant copy of the classic B-movie Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) that came out the year before, albeit is played for comedy here.
The 30-Foot Bride of Candy Rock is actually a better film than Attack of the 50 Foot Woman was. One should remember that 50 Foot Woman was produced on a Z-budget with some pitiful effects whereas 30-Foot Bride was produced on a substantially better budget and the effects rise to what could be could considered quite acceptable for the era. There are no laughably obvious effects with papier-mache hands bursting in through doors as we get in 50 Foot Woman. The big and small scenes are played for some cute comedy value the giant-sized Dorothy Provine trying to make breakfast for Lou; the two of them trying to go to sleep in the desert for their first married night; he running a firehose up to a hole through the roof of the barn to spray her so she can take a shower. The only weak part is that 30-Foot Bride never gives any explanation for why Dorothy Provine suddenly gets big she wanders into a cave in the desert against Lous warnings and returns a giantess, no more explanation than that.
The comedy is amiable enough, never too much from what Lou was doing back when he and Bud were together. It should be said that Lou seems a bit stranded without a partner to run his routines off. One thing that does blight the film seeing it in the modern era is an undeniable sexism, something that frequently lurked beneath the films the boys made. Even when Dorothy Provine grows so tall she could squish Lou between her two fingers, he is ordering her around: Here now, you take orders from me, which she responds to with a meek Yes, dear. When she gains giant-size, she also seems to become shrewish, prone to temper flare-ups and irrational jealousy after seeing him being given a ride by Veola Vonn. The message of the film would seem to be that women becoming oversized ie. growing beyond their traditional station is a bad thing and they should be tamed and made good wives again.
The other oddity of the film is that it writes Lou in as being an inventor. No problem with that but you cannot help but find it ever so improbable how the plot contrives to have him as a nobody who yearns for recognition by the scientific community while oblivious to the fact that he has come up with a series of discoveries that would by any account make him one of the most sensational scientists of all time. Not only has he build an admittedly erratic working artificial intelligence but also a voice recognition system for it, while the climactic scenes have him discovering the secrets of anti-gravity and time travel. The film also arrives at a completely gonzo climax in which the A.I. Max throws Lou and the attacking soldiers back and forward in time, meaning that they flip through different costumes ranging from the Civil War to cavemen. In the final scenes, Dorothy Provine is shrunk back to size and thrown up into orbit where she ends up bumping into flocks of birds and Sputnik.
Abbott and Costellos other films of genre note are: Hold That Ghost (1941), The Time of Their Lives (1946), Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Comin Round the Mountain (1951), Jack and the Beanstalk (1952), Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953), Abbott and Costello Meet Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1953) and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955).