The 46th film in Mill Creek’s Fabulous Forties box set was 1946’s The Town Went Wild! Nice name, huh?
The name is actually a lot nicer than the movie, which is a bit incoherent. Basically, David (Freddie Bartholomew) is a nice guy who has lived his entire life in the small town. His best friend is Bob (Jimmy Lydon) and David is also in love with Bob’s sister, Carol (Jill Browning). David is an engineer who has just been assigned to go work in Alaska. Before he leaves, he is determined to marry Carol.
Unfortunately, Bob’s father (Edward Everett Horton) and Carol’s father (Tom Tully) hate each other. They have been feuding for so long that they’re not even sure what they’re feuding about. However, Carol and David are determined to get married so they decided to elope. Getting a ride from their friend Mille (Roberta Smith), they go to the next town over and ask the justice of the peace to marry them,
However, before the justice of the peace can marry them, he needs them to publicly post their wedding plans in the local newspaper. And before David can post those plans, he needs to get his birth certificate from the local registrar. When David gets his birth certificate, he discovers something shocking. There was a mix-up at the hosptial! His Dad went home with the wrong baby. David is actually … CAROL’S BROTHER!
So, what can they do? How can David and Carol still get married despite apparently being related? And will the fathers be able to set aside their feud long enough to help their children out? The entire town wants to know!
I have to admit that I’m struggling a bit to come up with anything to say about The Town Went Wild. The movie is a mess and David and Carol are such boring characters that they even make incest look dull. Unfortunately, the version I saw of The Town Went Wild suffered from one of those infamously cheap Mill Creek transfers, complete with grainy picture, inconsistent sound, abrupt cuts, and the sneaky suspicion that certain scenes did not make the transfer from film to video.
With all that in mind, it’s hard to fairly judge The Town Went Wild but I can say that at least it provided good roles for Edward Everett Horton and Tom Tully. If nothing else, these two character actors appeared to enjoy playing loud and frequently stupid rivals. Otherwise, The Town Went Wild is one of those poverty row films that can safely be forgotten.