An unimpressive but well intending man is given the chance to marry a popular actress, of whom he has been a hopeless fan. But what he doesn't realize is that he is being used to make the actress' old flame jealous.
Although he has never met her, Elmer Butts loves Hortense secretly and from afar. He dreams of making a million dollars so he can buy her a Rolls automobile and marry her. With prohibition apparently on the verge of ending, Elmer's friend Jimmy Potts gets an idea to make them both rich by opening a brewery just before the legalization of alcoholic beverages. Their timing is off, and the police raid them, but their inept brewing has created a beer with no alcohol, so they are let off. But it has also resulted in a cheaply made beer, and bootlegger Spike Moran realizes that he can vastly increase his profits by partnering with Elmer and Jimmy. But none of them reckons with the competitor, another bootlegger, gangster Butch Lorado. Butch has a girlfriend....Elmer's dream girl, Hortense.Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
This film's initial television broadcast in New York City took place Monday 16 December 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2); it was first telecast in Philadelphia 3 October 1958 on WFIL (Channel 6) followed by San Francisco 17 December 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). Apparently, because of its age and reputation, Los Angeles television viewers never had a chance at it at this time, since there's no reliable documentation it was ever shown by KTTV (Channel 11), who then had access to the MGM film library. See more »
Elmer and Jimmy are told by the brewery's previous owner that the bank had foreclosed on him "years ago". If so, the bank would own the brewery and it wouldn't be his to sell. See more »
Keaton followers know his decision to go to MGM was a disaster artistically and the smothering of his talent is apparent in this film. In some scenes he looks like he hasn't slept in days. Stick with it though, as with any chance to glimpse comic genius, you can spot the sparks. Durante, also a unique performer, and Keaton don't make a good team. Keaton was a cool presence, far more subtle and with much more depth of characterization than other comedians of the era. Durante was a hot performer, more verbal, but with a manic physicality. At times, you worry that he's actually hurting Keaton with his constant shoving, grabbing, poking and slapping. There is a rather sexy performance from Phyllis Barry as Keaton's amour and one wonders why she didn't go on to become, as they say. Everybody works very hard which usually kills farce, but there are moments of pure zaniness usually involving barrels, and some good lines satirizing the standard gangster picture. Anyone who loves these two men, as I do, should see this, if only in giggling tribute.
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