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Slim (1937)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 24 June 1937 (USA)
A veteran lineman takes an awe-struck young farmer under his wing, but problems arise when he introduces him to his occasional girlfriend, a pretty nurse.


Ray Enright


William Wister Haines (novel), William Wister Haines (screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pat O'Brien ... Red Blayd
Henry Fonda ... Slim
Stuart Erwin ... Stumpy
Margaret Lindsay ... Cally
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Pop
Dick Purcell ... Tom
Joe Sawyer ... Wilcox (as Joseph Sawyer)
Craig Reynolds ... Gambler
John Litel ... Wyatt Ranstead
Jane Wyman ... Stumpy's Girl
Harland Tucker Harland Tucker ... Lafe Garrettson (as Harlan Tucker)
Joe King ... Steve (as Joseph King)
Carlyle Moore Jr. ... Al
Archie Robbins ... Joe Braithewaite (as James Robbins)
Henry Otho Henry Otho ... Mitch


Farmer slim joins a group of workers who are building power lines. Foreman Red teaches him all he needs and soon they become friends. When they are fired because they protected their boss in a case when another worker died by falling from a mast because he was drunk, they go to Chicago, where they spend their money and visit Red's girl friend, Cally. Cally, who Red doesn't want to marry because he doesn't want to make her a widow if he has an accident - also falls in love with Slim. On another construction site, Slim is stabbed by a personal foe of Red, when he accused him of sabotaging a ladder Red was going to use to 100 feet. Cally, a nurse, comes to the hospital near the construction site and gets Slim back on his feet. Cally proposes marriage if Slim stops working, but he refuses and joins Red on a dangerous job, keeping the power during a blizzard on the northern Eastcoast. Working next to 88,000 volt power line means taking a deadly risk, as Cally, Red and Slim know.... Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's a scorcher! See more »


Drama | Romance








Release Date:

24 June 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alta Tensão See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Davison Clark (Sam), Brenda Fowler (Miss Ferredice) and Tom Wilson (Gambler) are all in studio records for those roles, but were not seen in the movie. See more »


When O'Brien and Fonda are driving through the desert, Fonda's wearing a brown hat. but the longer shots of his double shows a white hat. See more »


Slim Kincaid: That's what's the matter.
See more »


References Bureau of Missing Persons (1933) See more »


Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)
(1922) (uncredited)
Written by Fred Fisher
Played as background music when the men arrive in Chicago
See more »

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User Reviews

A Lineman For The Nation
24 August 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Slim is another of those products from the working man's studio of Warner Brothers and extols the heroism of the various lineman putting up towers and wires to electrify the nation. This was one of the finest achievements of the New Deal, the Rural Electrification Agency and the work you see Pat O'Brien and Henry Fonda do, they are doing in conjunction with that agency. Most of rural America was without any kind of power before then because the cost to private industry wasn't worth the profit they got back.

If Pat O'Brien wasn't working with James Cagney, he'd be making this kind of film with Dick Powell or John Payne. None of those quite have the rural demeanor for the title role, so Warner Brothers got Henry Fonda who was then under contract to producer Walter Wanger.

Fonda is in the title role of Slim, a country kid who sees the linemen bringing power to the nation and figures he can travel, see places and do things, in a necessary occupation. It's also why a lot of kids from rural areas enlist in the armed services. Pat O'Brien takes a liking to him, takes him under his wing so to speak and even accepts when his girl Margaret Lindsay prefers Fonda to him. For O'Brien he realizes he's far from ready to settle down.

I've always felt that O'Brien together with James Cagney were the real founders of the male buddy film. Given the nature of the role, Fonda more than fills Cagney's shoes. Jimmy Cagney would never be believable as a kid off the farm.

Look for J. Farrell McDonald to give a nice performance as the foreman of the crew Fonda and O'Brien work for. And Stu Erwin gives a nice performance, imitating Bob 'Bazooka' Burns who was at the height of his popularity as a regular on Bing Crosby's Kraft Music Hall. Erwin gives out with the same homespun rural humor that Burns was so popular for.

With the nation mostly electrified and the Rural Electrification Agency now the Rural Maintenance Agency as of 1994, the film is somewhat dated. But it is still a good piece of entertainment and a tribute to the men who literally electrified a country.

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