Jack of All Trades (December 30, 1936)

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Jack Hulbert and Robertson Hare
 

Released on December 30, 1936: An out of work man creates his own job at a London bank and convinces the money men of England to finance his imaginary business project.

Produced by Michael Balcon

Directed by Robert Stevenson and Jack Hulbert

The Actors: Jack Hulbert (Jack Warrender), Gina Malo (Frances Wilson), Robertson Hare (Lionel Fitch), Mary Jerrold (Mrs. Warrender), Cecil Parker (Sir Charles Darrington), Athole Stewart (bank chairman), Felix Aylmer (managing director Denton), Ian McLean (the fire raiser), H.F. Maltby (bank director), Fewlass Llewellyn (bank director), Marcus Barron (Williams), C.M. Hallard (Sir Henry Kilner), Peggy Simpson (typist), Betty Astell (dancer), Arnold Bell (unknown), Harry Crocker (unknown), Henry B. Longhurst (party guest), Frederick Piper (employment clerk Jimmy), Victor Rietti (head waiter), Bruce Seton (dancer), Cyril Smith (unknown), Netta Westcott (unknown)

 

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Onions, Gherkins and Shoes

Can an unemployed man during the Great Depression find wealth, happiness and love with nothing more than a song in his heart and kahunas the size of grapefruit? Can a bank secretary toss his shoe through the window of the bank chairman and not only survive bit thrive because of that shoe? When you see a pretty girl, what is the first thing you look at? . . . All of these questions and more will be answered in this comedy adventure . . . And in case you answered the pretty girl question before watching the movie . . . I got it wrong also . . . As the story opens Jack Warrender is in dire need of a job . . . and a meal wouldn't be refused either. Jack doesn't have a job, but he has a song in his heart and the chutzpah of a dozen men. When the jobs clerk gets a call from a wealthy banker who needs one more waiter for his party, Jack borrows evening clothes and heads for the party. Jack enters the home where the party is happening and before he can explain that he is the temporary waiter for the party, everyone assumes that he is a party guest and he goes right along with the deception. He meets two people of note at the party . . . . Lionel Fitch, a meek bank secretary, and a pretty girl over in the corner of the room singing the same happy song that he was singing earlier. Jack becomes fast friends with Lionel, and even convinces the tea drinker to have an alcoholic drink . . . or two . . . or three . . . well, a bunch. Jack tags along with Lionel as he goes home, and as they pass the house of the Chairman of the bank, a drunk Lionel tosses one of his shoes through the Chairman's window before they scurry off like high school pranksters. The next morning Jack shows up at the bank and creates a job for himself and soon all of the big money men of London are convinced that he is the business genius that will lead them all to greater wealth. Meanwhile, we learn that the young girl he met at the part is one of the wealthiest women in the world, and her company is engaged to partner with the bank in Jack's imaginary business venture, the Meriweather Plan. Just as his imaginary plan is turning into a real, honest to goodness business venture, the girl he is after discovers that he is a total fraud, and he still doesn't know that she is the real money behind his crazy venture. She insists that if he wants to continue seeing her he must confess all to the bank, and he intends to, but doesn't. During the big bank meeting when plans are ready to be put into action she shows up and he discovers that she is the real money behind the venture. She immediately tells everyone that Jack is a fraud and the bank kicks him to the curb . . . . . and SHE buys the rights to the imaginary business venture and turns it into a real, money-making business that is making her even more wealthy . . . . While poor Jack is once again penniless and in search of his next meal . . . We all know that a 'keep your chins up' motivational movie during the dark days of the Great Depression could never end that way . . . . Probably . . . . Maybe . . . . . Oh, heck, just pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and discover what men stare at first when they see a pretty girl.

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Jack Hulbert and Robertson Hare
Jack Hulbert and Robertson Hare
Jack Hulbert and Robertson Hare
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Jack Hulbert
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