Gopher City Kansas hosts a beauty contest. The winner, Elvira Plunkett, and her mother go to Hollywood. The Chamber of Commerce also provides Elvira with an agent, Gopher City's own Elmer J. Butz. Elmer likes Elvira and the shy Elvira likes him, but Mrs. Plunkett, a formidable woman, has little use for hapless Elmer. On the train west, they meet movie star Larry Mitchell, who takes a shine to Elvira and helps her meet MGM directors once they get to Tinsel Town. Elmer, meanwhile, wants to help Elvira with her career and he also wants to be her man. Movie stardom does come to the Gopher City entourage, but to whom is a surprise. And who will win the lovely Elvira's hand? Written by
The three main characters of the film - Elmer Butts, and Elvira and Ma Plunkett - come to Hollywood from Gopher City, Kansas. Trixie Friganza, who plays Ma Plunkett, was in fact from Kansas. See more »
When Larry orders his car, a visible mike descends from the upper right hand corner of the frame while he says his line, then rises out of sight again. See more »
Not really that bad but very bizarre. Buster Keaton in his starring talkie debut had talent and charm to spare, but the film is so weird. MGM had taken control of Keaton as had the Talmadge family, but he's game here as a hayseed manager accompanying Miss Gopher City (Anita Page) to Hollywood along with her stage door mother (Trixie Friganza). Some really funny stuff among the not-so-funny. MGM tosses in some guests stars like William Haines, Robert Montgomery, Lionel Barrymore, Dorothy Sebastian, Karl Dane, Gwen Lee, John Miljan, William Collier, and directors like Fred Niblo and Cecl B. DeMille, who chats up yes men about his future leading lady: Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Marion Davies, or Bebe Daniels. Lots of MGM name dropping and studio in jokes. Keaton is actually very good in his transition to sound, but the film meanders away and around the bend. He's surprisingly good in a dance number with an excellent young woman (is she Marion Shilling?) to "Free and Easy," which I like more every time I see it. Keaton could DANCE! And Ann Dvorak is in the chorus. Friganza steals several scenes. Page is beautiful. Montgomery gets his voice dubbed in a singing number. Niblo is hilarious as himself, but Buster Keaton, the great and wonderful silent comic, is the reason to watch Free and Easy. He's funny and light and tragic all at once. Was there anyone EVER like Buster Keaton? Around the time of filming he was being screwed by ex-wife Natalie Talmadge and her family as well as by MGM--the same studio that screwed William Haines, John Gilbert, Lillian Gish, Bessie Love, Anita Page and scores of others. See this film. Give it a chance and just watch BUSTER KEATON.
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