Never a Dull Moment (1968 film)
Never a Dull Moment is a 1968 American heist comedy crime film from Walt Disney Productions starring Dick Van Dyke and Edward G. Robinson and directed by Jerry Paris. The script by AJ Carothers was based on a novel by John Godey. The supporting cast features Dorothy Provine, Henry Silva, Slim Pickens and Jack Elam. Master cartoonist Floyd Gottfredson created a comic strip, Astro Pooch, to be used as a prop in the film.
|Never a Dull Moment|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Jerry Paris|
|Produced by||Ron Miller|
|Written by||AJ Carothers|
John Godey (book)
|Starring||Dick Van Dyke |
Edward G. Robinson
|Music by||Robert F. Brunner|
|Cinematography||William E. Snyder|
|Edited by||Marsh Hendry|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|Box office||$4,150,000 (US/ Canada rentals)|
Second-rate actor Jack Albany (Dick Van Dyke) finds himself mistaken for fiendish killer Ace Williams and whisked off to master gangster Leo Smooth's (Edward G. Robinson) fortified mansion. He is forced to continue with the charade what with all the rough-looking hoods around, even when he finds he is to play a deadly role in the theft of the painting "Field of Sunflowers", a 40 foot long masterpiece by Dubreaux (a fictional artist). But at least there is lovely art teacher Sally (Dorothy Provine) who could become an ally — if she ever believes his story.
Further complications ensue when the real Ace Williams (Jack Elam) shows up, making it even more difficult for Albany to keep up his false identity. Eventually, Albany outwits the gangsters and foils the robbery.
- Dick Van Dyke as Jack Albany
- Edward G. Robinson as Leo Joseph Smooth
- Dorothy Provine as Sally Inwood
- Henry Silva as Frank Boley
- Joanna Cook Moore as Melanie Smooth
- Tony Bill as Florian
- Slim Pickens as Cowboy Schaeffer
- Jack Elam as Ace Williams
- Ned Glass as Rinzy Tobreski
- Richard Bakalyan as Bobby Macoon
- Mickey Shaughnessy as Francis
- Philip Coolidge as Fingers Felton
- James Millhollin as Museum Director
Disney and crime movies
This film was one of several Disney films that featured individuals facing off with criminals: on television, the Mickey Mouse Club featured installments of the Hardy Boys and on screen, The Moon-Spinners found Hayley Mills battling a thief. On the prime time Wonderful World of Disney, the miniseries The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh saw a ruthless masked vigilante battle evildoers in 18th century England, starring Patrick McGoohan in the title character. Later, the studio did comic films like this one, balancing drama with comedy, which attracted families and other fans.
Howard Thompson of The New York Times gave Never a Dull Moment a largely negative review, calling it "good-natured" but claiming that "most of it seems mighty strenuous and over-worked." Thompson saved most of his praise for the cartoon that accompanied the film, a reissue of Disney's Three Little Pigs from 1933. (This short also occupied releases of The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band in some cities.) Arthur D. Murphy of Variety called it "a very amusing crime comedy" if "a bit long and talky." Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times declared it "the breeziest and most likeable Disney comedy in some time, with a verve and (relative) sophistication which can engage the favoring interest of the grown-ups as well as the moppets." Clifford Terry of the Chicago Tribune wrote, "The Disney studio comedy starts off amusingly enough, then loses its freshness after the first half hour. But the kids probably won't notice." The Monthly Film Bulletin stated, "With no pretensions to being anything but a rollicking farce, this slight but intermittently amusing comedy largely succeeds on its own modest level."
- "Big Rental Films of 1970", Variety, 6 January 1971 p 11
- Thompson, Howard (August 15, 1968). 'Never a Dull Moment'. The New York Times.
- Murphy, Arthur D. (May 15, 1968). "Film Reviews: Never A Dull Moment". Variety. 26.
- Champlin, Charles (August 9, 1968). "Disney Sprinkles Salt on Innocence in 'Moment'". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 1.
- Terry, Clifford (August 7, 1968). "'Never Dull' Is Frantic". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 8.
- "Never a Dull Moment". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 35 (415): 120. August 1968.