Movie of the Day

Speak Easily

Buster Keaton in a talkie, Jim Durante on piano and Thelma Todd drunk on the floor. How do you like dem onions? Although well past his prime, Buster Keaton still has a bit of comedy left in him as he plays a naive professor who believes he has inherited $750,000, and goes on the first vacation of his life. The inheritance is actually a fiction invented by his butler, knowing it is the only way to get the professor to break out of his rut, and that he will never spend more than the $4,000 he already has in the bank. The prof meets a theatrical company on the train and falls for a dancer and soon agrees to invest his entire inheritance, which he doesn’t really have, in the show. Buster’s physical comedy, his trademark in his silent films, is at a minimum here, and it is a bit sad to see this once great star constantly upstaged by Jimmy Durante. The funniest scene is when another show girl, played by the bubbly Thelma Todd, mixes the professor the first drink of his life, and they soon wind up drunk and rolling around the floor as he attempts to pick her up and carry her to her own room. Since Thelma had about 4 inches and a good 20 pounds on Buster, this was no easy task. It is fun scenes like this, featuring two unmarried people drunk in a room together, with a scantily dressed girl falling to the floor, that the film production code would soon bring an end to.

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