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Bottoms Up (1934)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 13 April 1934 (USA)
Promoter Smoothe King helps a pair of phonies con their way into a movie company. As Wanda heads toward stardom, she turns more and more from King toward the matinée idol. King must decide between his plans and her happiness.


David Butler


David Butler (screenplay), David Butler (story) | 4 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Spencer Tracy ... 'Smoothie' King
Pat Paterson ... Wanda Gale
John Boles ... Hal Reed
Sid Silvers ... Spud Mosco aka Reginald Morris
Herbert Mundin ... Limey Brook aka Lord Brocklehurst
Harry Green ... Lewis Wolf
Thelma Todd ... Judith Marlowe
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... Detective Rooney
Dell Henderson ... Lane Worthing
Suzanne Kaaren ... Wolf's Secretary
Douglas Wood Douglas Wood ... John Baldwin


Promoter Smoothe King helps a pair of phonies con their way into a movie company. As Wanda heads toward stardom, she turns more and more from King toward the matinée idol. King must decide between his plans and her happiness.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


For those who like to laugh and sing when tears get in their eyes!


Comedy | Drama | Musical


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

13 April 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alla conquista di Hollywood See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Spencer Tracy's character didn't mentioned the name of the actress (Margaret Lindsay) but he talked about the girl from Iowa who said that she was from England and got a big role in Cavalcade (1933). See more »


Lewis Wolf: I'm sure your friend here knows what smoked salmon is.
Spud Mosco aka Reginald Morris: Sure. That's herring with high blood pressure.
See more »


Referenced in Maude: Maude's Good Deed (1973) See more »


Little Did I Dream
Lyrics by Harold Adamson
Music by Burton Lane
Copyright 1934 by Irving Berlin Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Cheeky candyfloss
7 November 2003 | by F Gwynplaine MacIntyreSee all my reviews

I'm always intrigued when a dramatic actor stars in a musical. 'Bottoms Up' is as close as Spencer Tracy ever came to starring in a musical ... but he doesn't sing or dance, and at this early point in his film career Tracy was still primarily a light comedian. The musical numbers here are eminently forgettable, and they aren't integrated into the plot.

'Bottoms Up' is a deft and breezy comedy that unfortunately borrows most of its premise from Kaufman and Hart's first collaboration 'Once in a Lifetime'. The rest of the premise is based (without screen credit) on one of the practical jokes staged by real-life Hollywood gagster Charles MacArthur, who once palmed off a handsome young filling-station attendant as a prominent English playwright, and fooled a major Hollywood studio into putting this young 'genius' on the payroll for a year (at a high salary) as a screenwriter ... even though the petrol-pumper couldn't actually write.

In 'Bottoms Up', Tracy plays Smoothey King, a wiseguy publicist who just barely operates within the law. His pal 'Limey' (English-born character actor Herbert Mundin) is a forger with a prison record, looking for some easy money. Smoothey meets Wanda Gale, an attractive young blonde Canadian working as a movie extra, who has a convincing cut-glass English accent. Smoothey promptly touts Limey and Wanda as members of the British peerage, who are visiting America but who would never stoop to work in motion pictures. Naturally, the studio offers a contract to Wanda on the publicity value of her (fake) title, and soon this 'lady' is being groomed for stardom. Meanwhile, Limey is acting like an autograph hound, collecting the signatures of Hollywood figures who don't realise he's a forger! Mundin is excellent here: if not for his untimely death in a road accident, he might have become one of the most memorable character actors of Hollywood's great studio era.

Smoothey finds himself attracted to Wanda. Meanwhile, she stars in a film with matinée idol Hal Reed (played by John Boles, who was a little too unbelievably handsome). Naturally, Wanda falls in love with Hal. Around the periphery of this is a bright performance by Sid Silvers, a very talented gag writer whose second career as a screen actor never took off, due to his unappealing face and physique. Harry Green, the Jewish equivalent of Stepin Fetchit, is less offensive than usual in his role here as an excitable film producer named Louis Baer. (A clear dig at Louis B. Mayer.) Robert Emmett O'Connor does his usual sourpuss gumshoe routine. Thelma Todd is attractive in a small role, and John Boles sings pleasantly. 'Bottoms Up', with its cheeky title, is well-directed by David Butler, one of the most underrated directors of Hollywood's studio era. This movie is harmless candyfloss, and I'll rate it 6 out of 10.

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