The Time of Their Lives (1946)

time of their lives poster 1946 movie abbott and costello
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Some goofy laughs, vintage special effects

Typical Abbott & Costello

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Time of Their Lives

Studio: Universal Studios

Genre(s): Comedy/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  August 13, 1946 (Premiere)/August 16, 1946 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

time of their lives lou costello marjorie reynolds

Let’s go Beetlejuice on these guys!

When Horatio Rim (Lou Costello) and Melody Allen (Marjorie Reynolds) discover turncoats amongst a group of colonists, they set off to warn General Washington.  Horatio and Melody are mistaken for traitors and killed.  Finding themselves forever cursed and bound to the home, they question if they’ll ever see their loved ones again.  Dr. Ralph Greenway (Bud Abbott) restores the home to its former glory and Greenway and his friends could be the only hope that Horatio and Melody have for passing on.

Directed by Charles Barton, The Time of Their Lives is a supernatural fantasy comedy.  The Abbott & Costello film followed Little Giant which was also released in 1946.

1940s comedies all seem to have the same tones and often they have the same themes.  This is a ghost story comedy, and it is a bit different than a lot of Abbott & Costello comedies in that both Abbott and Costello are just “in the movie”…they aren’t a comedy team in the film.

time of their lives bud abbott


The movie starts out as a Civil War period piece and starts a decent amount of time setting up the story (for a short movie).  Once Horatio and Melody are damned to haunt the land, it becomes a typical comedy act with Marjorie Reynolds and Lou Costello doing most of the bits.  The movie spends the last act as almost a chase movie with Costello and Reynolds trying to keep Bud Abbott away from the police so they can be cleared…it feels like a movie in acts, but it doesn’t need to be since it is less than an hour and a half.

It is kind of fun to see Lou Costello teamed with someone else.  Bud Abbott generally played the straight man and it is fun to see Marjorie Reynolds step into his role…but it is odd that the movie makes a big effort to keep the two from being a couple in the film.  The rest of the characters (Bud Abbott included) kind of feel like extra characters (and there are too many characters at that).

time of their lives ending marjorie reynolds lou costello ghosts

All’s well that ends well…of course.

Since the movie is based around ghosts, there are a lot of old style special effects.  It is kind of fun to see how far the effects have come and think about how little they changed between the years of practical effects before computers became highly used.  It becomes quite clear when someone is “ghosting” in the movie and it of course leads to wackiness (it is an Abbott & Costello movie obviously).

The Time of Their Lives is completely harmless.  I mean that both as a compliment and a bit of a backhanded insult.  The movie doesn’t bore you nor is it very memorable.  It just doesn’t stand-out.  If you like Abbott & Costello, you’ll probably like The Time of Their Lives…if not, it won’t win you over as an Abbott & Costello fan.  Abbott & Costello followed The Time of Their Lives with Buck Privates Come Home in 1947.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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