A Likely Story (1947)

Barbara Hale and Bill Williams in A Likely Story (1947)

A Convoluted Story

Whilst travelling to New York, the permanently optimistic Bill Baker (Bill Williams) receives a bang on his head and ends up in hospital. It is there that he overhears two doctors discussing a patient have just 2 weeks to live and thinks they are on about him. Depressed and looking for a way to end his life he bumps in to Vickie North (Barbara Hale), who was on the train when he banged his head, who takes Bill back to her rented room when Bill gets his lights knocked out by a stranger. It turns out that Vickie is a struggling artist, looking after her younger brother Jamie (Lanny Rees), and who becomes depressed when Bill suggests she sells some of her paintings only for no one to want to buy them. Desperate to make amends Bill tries to borrow some money against his life insurance so he can pay someone to buy Vickie's art but finds himself involved with a gangster who can't hang around for him to die to claim on Bill's life insurance.

When you've finished watching "A Likely Story" there is one thought which is likely to go through your mind and that is what a convoluted comedy that was. It starts with a day dreaming Bill imagining himself in various jobs before taking in some confusion comedy, romance and chucking in some slapstick as well. And the fact it seems to chuck everything in to the pot including a kitchen sink it has the surprising effect of making "A Likely Story" feel much longer than it is which at just 80 minutes is not long at all.

What this also means is that "A Likely Story" also ends up a bit chaotic as it always seems to be rushing to get to the next moment of humour; be it Bill walking barefooted on some tacks to some old silent comedy of two people talking in an office but we can't hear what they are saying, only seeing how animated they are. It is a problem and "A Likely Story" would have been so much better if they had followed the adage of less is more. Because of the chaos Both Bill Williams and Barbara Hale struggle to make any real impression beyond their visual appeal.

What this all boils down to is that "A Likely Story" is a fun and an incredibly visual comedy but it suffers from tossing far too much comedy in to the mix. It not only makes it a chaotic movie but one which feels so much longer than it is.