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Always Leave Them Laughing

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Critics' Reviews

AMG Review
Craig Butler
Rarely-seen and in some ways only average, Always Leave Them Laughing is nevertheless rather fascinating. At heart, Laughing is nothing more than an other backstage musical, but it's different in that the main character is kind of hard to like and that he occasionally verges on being morally challenged. None of this is played up, really, but it's there -- largely because the character is performed by Milton Berle, whose comic persona is a bit selfish and shady. One's reaction to Laughing is sure to be dependent upon one's feelings for Berle; the material presented is old hat (and was even when the film was first released), so that means one must like Berle and his brand of humor to like the movie. Berle is Berle all the way through, but there are some moments -- such as his operetta disaster -- that even those who do not like the comic will probably find amusing. And he acquits himself well in the dramatic sections, as well. Laughing also features one of Bert Lahr's finest on-screen performances, delivering some classic bits that he created onstage and threatening to steal the movie away from Berle whenever he's on hand. There's also some nice support from the likes of Ruth Roman, Virginia Mayo and Iris Adrian. For those who like Berle, or who like to see what a personality like Berle's can do to a musical from 1949, Laughing is worth catching. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi
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