The Long, Long Trailer (dir. Vincente Minnelli, 1954) follows Tacy and Nicky, a young and soon-to-be married couple. The two dream of making a home together that they can call their own.
The trouble is, they have very different views of what type of home that should be. Tacy is dead-set on living in a trailer, so she can travel with Nicky wherever his work takes him. Nicky, however, envisions a home without wheels, where he can return from his travels to a peaceful and literally stable foundation.
Eventually, Tacy wins the battle. She and Nicky purchase her dream trailer and take to the road, heading from California to Colorado and encountering a number of hilarious mishaps along the way.
The film stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, acting at their prime, smack in the middle of their I Love Lucy fame. And with this film, they definitely stuck with what was working for them.
The comedic style is very similar to that of I Love Lucy– a little less over-the-top, and with different names attached to the characters, but every bit as hilarious. There is a great use of facial expressions and physical comedy in this film, as was a trademark of the couple’s famous television series.
The film doesn’t completely rely on its actors, though. The dialogue is equally hilarious, and though the actors certainly elevate the laughs, many of the wise-cracks probably would have been funny no matter who was delivering them. The script is witty in both dialogue and action. The fact that two such comedic geniuses are at the helm certainly helps draw the viewer in, but the writing on its own is wonderful.
As always, Lucy and Desi have that fantastic dysfunctional chemistry that keeps audiences drawn to them to this day. This film only reaffirms the fact that they are one of the most adorable and rightfully beloved couples of the 20th century, especially on screen in such quirky comedies.
Beyond the chemistry, the two also give pitch-perfect performances. Their roles as Tacy and Nicky are not ground-breakingly different from their usual roles or even from other films of the time, but these two actors fill the roles so well that the typicality doesn’t bring down the film in the least.
Because the pair is so lovable, viewers of this film will certainly want everything to work out well for the couple, but it seems like they just can’t catch a break. The pacing of the film is interesting in this respect. A revolving door of chaotic hilarity and somewhat peaceful, more contented travels keep the viewer on an emotional ride, wondering how things will work out for the couple and when the next inevitable problem will arise.
The supporting cast, though given limited screen time as the focus is obviously on the couples road trip, is completely on par with the rest of the film. From the kooky characters that they meet along the road to Tacy’s own family, every small supporting role adds something to the film. Marjorie Main stands out as Mrs. Hittaway, a well-meaning but somewhat intrusive neighbor of the couple at a trailer park where they camp for a night early on in their journey.
The Long, Long Trailer is a fun and silly film that is a complete delight to watch. It also carries the moral of doing the best with what you have, and appreciating the life you’ve made and the people in it, no matter how many hurdles or hardships arise. The film as a whole leaves the viewer with a smile on the face and a positive message on the mind. The score: 5/5!
Here’s a somewhat spoilery trailer for The Long, Long Trailer: