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Be Yourself! (1930)

Ethnic comedy of a nightclub entertainer trying to train a boxer.



(adapted by), (adapted by) (as T. Freeland) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Fannie Field (as Fannie Brice)
Budd Fine ...
Marjorie Kane ...
Lola (as Marjorie 'Babe' Kane)
Rita Flynn ...


In the nightclub where entertainer Fannie Field sings, two rivals for her favors, Jerry Moore and Mac McCloskey, come to blows before either realizes the other is a boxer. Jerry loses the fight but wins Fannie, who becomes his trainer with the aid of her schlemiel brother. Aside from a slight tendency to lie down in the ring, Jerry is successful. But success brings the inevitable blonde; does this mean heartbreak for Fannie? Features the star's inimitable ethnic humor. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boxing | See All (1) »


Comedy | Musical





Release Date:

8 February 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Astúcia Feminina  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film is one of over 200 titles in the list of independent feature films made available for television presentation by Advance Television Pictures announced in Motion Picture Herald 4 April 1942. At this time, television broadcasting was in its infancy, almost totally curtailed by the advent of World War II, and would not continue to develop until 1945-1946. Because of poor documentation (feature films were often not identified by title in conventional sources) no record has yet been found of its initial television broadcast. See more »


Jerry Moore: It's a racket.
Fannie Field: So's tennis... but ya gotta be sober to play it.
Jerry Moore: Well, liquor never hurt my old man. He's been drinkin' all his life, and he's 80 years old.
Fannie Field: Wait...it'll get him.
See more »


Featured in Broadway: The American Musical (2004) See more »


Kickin a Hole in the Sky
(1930) (uncredited)
Written by Jesse Greer
Lyrics by Billy Rose, Ballard MacDonald
Sung by Fanny Brice with chorus and devil
See more »

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User Reviews

Early Musical with Ethnic Spice
15 November 2007 | by See all my reviews

Fanny Brice was a great Broadway star, one of the ones whose abilities did not translate to film that all well. It is worth it to watch her here, and extrapolate backwards to see the stage talent that made her famous. Blessed with perfect comic timing, she belts the blues, torches a ballad and parodies operatic singing in a way that would make Jerry Lewis jealous. It would all work better live and none of it burns into immortal memory, but still it's all interesting.

William Cameron Menzies' designs are delirious. The nightclub that hosts most of the action is decidedly surreal, and only he could make a boxing arena look like the Arabian Nights.

Harry Green acts a Jewish stereotype with such guilelessness and energy that he doesn't offend. He's safely in the past, and only non-Jews will be made confused and uncomfortable. The dates in his filmography suggest that he moved to England as a result of blacklisting rather than artistic irrelevancy, as is suggested in another review. England was a good choice for exile; they've always welcomed with open arms actors willing to play reductive ethnic clichés.

There is a peculiar fascination in the film with the shape of Robert Armstrong's nose. Fanny Brice had already had one of the earliest of the celebrity nose jobs, inspiring Dorothy Parker to observe that she had "cut off her nose to spite her race."

At any rate, Armstrong and the rest of the cast know exactly what to do and do it well. As with many early talkies, the pacing and continuity are uncertain. More artifact than musical comedy, we can watch the Jews and the Irish warily circling each other from the safe distance of the 21st Century.

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