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The Merry Frinks

The Merry Frinks(1934)

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teaser The Merry Frinks (1934)

Most screwball comedies place their battle of the sexes in a glamorous rather than domestic setting, but this super-combatative farce is an exception. Hattie Frink (Aline MacMahon) is the devoted and long-suffering mother at the center of the Frink clan, and she runs herself ragged catering to the whims of her screechy daughter (Joan Wheeler), combatative sons (Allen Jenkins and Frankie Darro), elderly mother (Helen Lowell) and vociferous socialist husband (Hugh Herbert). But when she comes into money from the sudden death of visitor Uncle Newt (MacMahon's perennial co-star Guy Kibbee), her family is scared into good behavior by his will's stipulation that she'll only hit the jackpot if she dumps all of her freeloading kin. One of the noisiest early sound films, with a soundtrack that's not just all-talking but all clanking, rattling, slamming, yelling and shrieking, this Depression-era fantasy of appreciation for overworked women still resonates today. Also starring Louise Beavers in another maid role, released just months before her career-defining turn in Imitation Of Life (1934).

By Violet LeVoit

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