Speak Easily (August 13, 1932)

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Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante
 

Released on August 13, 1932: Buster Keaton is a naive college professor that believes he has inherited a fortune, and goes off to experience the wild side of life by funding a Broadway show.

Produced by Buster Keaton

Directed by Edward Sedgwick

The Actors: Buster Keaton (Professor Timoleon Zanders Post), Jimmy Durante (James 'Jimmy' Dodge), Ruth Selwyn (Pansy Peets), Thelma Todd (Eleanor Espere), Hedda Hopper (Mrs. Peets), William Pawley (Griffo), Sidney Toler (Mr. Rayburn the stage director), Lawrence Grant (Dr. Bolton), Henry Armetta (Tony), and Edward Brophy (Reno), Oscar Apfel (lawyer's representative), Reginald Barlow (Billington), Jack Baxley (Tom the Sheriff's Deputy), Sidney Bracey (Jenkins), Jim Farley (the station agent), DeWitt Jennings (Sheriff of Lincoln County), Fred Kelsey (the process server), Dave O'Brien (chorus boy), Inez Palange (Rosa, Tony's wife), Harry Tenbrook (train baggage man)

 

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The Professor and the Dancing Girls

Legendary silent movie and later talking film comedian Buster Keaton produced and stars in this pre-code adult slapstick comedy about a Broadway ‘Angel’ funding a show to help the career of a beautiful young lady he has fallen for. Keaton is a befuddled and bespeckled college professor who has led a very quiet and scholarly life. Keaton, as Professor Timothy Z. Post, wonders about life outside the quiet college campus, and a fellow professor thinks that Professor Post should go out into the world and experience life on the wild side. To encourage him to leave the college for a while the helpful professor writes a letter indicating that the befuddled professor has inherited $750,000. Believing that he is now wealthy enough to never work again he heads out in search of adventure. He soon gets tangled up with a cast of small-town performers trying to make it big, and a blonde dancing girl named Pansy Peets catches his eye. This leads to that and the Professor takes the cast to New York City and promises to fund them in a big Broadway show. Legendary song and dance comedian Jimmy Durante is the leader of the group, performing in his own unique style. There are many ‘adult-for-1932' scenes that are quite tame today. Thelma Todd shows more flashes of her body in comic scenes than would be permitted when the censors started their rein a couple of years later, and she and Buster Keaton spend an innocent night together in her bedroom barely dressed, and this would never be shown so clearly after the censors began directing scenes.

There is also a reference to 1932 stripper burlesque star Sally Rand that you might not recognize today. Thelma Todd does a dance in the show where she dances around the stage holding and bouncing a big balloon like ball. Sally Rand was a strip-tease burlesque dancer who had just created the fan dance, where she danced peek-a-boo style on stage behind a giant fan, and as this movie was being created her newest sensation was to dance apparently nude behind a huge almost-see-through bubble, known only as the "Bubble Dance." Sally Rand was arrested several times during her performances, but that only served to make her more popular. You can watch Sally Rand and see a short sequence of her doing her famous bubble dance in the 1938 motion picture Sunset Murder Case >>> . . . . But before you watch Sally Rand in a murder story as a stripper-detective, pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy this show.

Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton
Newspaper advertisement of the new Broadway show
Newspaper advertisement of the new Broadway show
Buster Keaton and DeWitt Jennings
Buster Keaton and DeWitt Jennings
Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante and Sidney Toler
Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante and Sidney Toler
Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante stare at Thelma Todd's leg
Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante stare at Thelma Todd's leg
Buster Keaton and Thelma Todd
Buster Keaton and Thelma Todd
Buster Keaton and Thelma Todd get drunk
Buster Keaton and Thelma Todd get drunk
Edward Brophy and Henry Armetta
Edward Brophy and Henry Armetta
Edward Brophy and Jimmy Durante
Edward Brophy and Jimmy Durante
Edward Brophy and Jimmy Durante
Edward Brophy and Jimmy Durante
Fred Kelsey and Jimmy Durante
Fred Kelsey and Jimmy Durante
Henry Armetta and Inez Palange
Henry Armetta and Inez Palange
Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante and Buster Keaton
Jimmy Durante and Buster Keaton
Jimmy Durante and DeWitt Jennings
Jimmy Durante and DeWitt Jennings
Jimmy Durante and Sidney Toler
Jimmy Durante and Sidney Toler
Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante
Ruth Selwyn
Ruth Selwyn
Ruth Selwyn and Hedda Hopper
Ruth Selwyn and Hedda Hopper
Ruth Selwyn and Buster Keaton
Ruth Selwyn and Buster Keaton
Ruth Selwyn
Ruth Selwyn
Ruth Selwyn
Ruth Selwyn
Ruth Selwyn and Buster Keaton
Ruth Selwyn and Buster Keaton
Ruth Selwyn
Ruth Selwyn
Sidney Bracey and Buster Keaton
Sidney Bracey and Buster Keaton
Sidney Bracey and Lawrence Grant
Sidney Bracey and Lawrence Grant
Sidney Bracey and Lawrence Grant
Sidney Bracey and Lawrence Grant
Sidney Toler and Buster Keaton
Sidney Toler and Buster Keaton
Sidney Toler and Edward Brophy
Sidney Toler and Edward Brophy
Thelma Todd and Buster Keaton
Thelma Todd and Buster Keaton
Thelma Todd and Sidney Toler
Thelma Todd and Sidney Toler
Thelma Todd and Buster Keaton
Thelma Todd and Buster Keaton
William Pawley
William Pawley
William Pawley
William Pawley