The third act is weak — add more cowbells!

I don’t know about you, but I watch lots of old films that are about the theater and they are always telling the playwright that his (it’s always a “his” in old films) third act is weak, needs more punching up–more cowbells!

Well, the film, One Night in Lisbon, with Madeleine Carroll and Fred MacMurray took that advice to heart and added these to the third act:

A change of country

A new character or two–can’t tell you who or it’ll ruin the plot

Nazis spies!


and of course,

Danger, danger, danger!

They added all these cowbells to the third act of what otherwise had been a cute romantic comedy, with Fred MacMurray pursuing Madeleine Carroll with bird calls and kisses that reminded her of elephants. Doesn’t sound particularly romantic, but it was in a quirky way. Although, some of Fred’s pursuit borderlined on harassment. Oh, and funny Billie Burke simply disappeared by the third act–why leave her out and replace her with Nazis, espionage, and danger?

A fun film that you can catch free on youtube. Just remember to act surprised by the change in direction it takes–don’t let me spoil it. More cowbells!

Of course, my favorite Madeleine Carroll/Fred MacMurray film is Honeymoon in Bali.