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 »
At approx. 1h 25min in, after the clown is pulled up, the circle of girls waits for him to come back; they turn to run off stage; cut to new film, they are still waiting for clown to return, then they turn to run off stage again. See more »
Free And Easy is another variation on the Merton of the Movies type film where unknown schnook goes to Hollywood and winds up a comedy star. It worked fine for Glenn Hunter on stage and Stu Erwin on the screen. The lead in Free And Easy was a part that was perfect for Eddie Cantor. But Buster Keaton got it and it wasn't quite right for him.
Keaton, known in Hollywood as the Great Stone Face, was one of the greatest pantomimists the screen ever knew. Why you would star someone in a film that has musical numbers, though you would not classify it as a musical is beyond me. That title song which Keaton croaks would have been perfect for Eddie Cantor.
In watching it I thought I recognized the plot of this film. It was part of the story line of Pepe, the great Cantinfas all star production from thirty years later. Keaton is in love with young Anita Page who is the young screen hopeful from his home town. But she's got eyes for the flawed young movie star Robert Montgomery.
Like Pepe, a number of folks on the MGM lot made guest appearances as themselves. One of the most interesting was William Haines who at that time competing with Robert Montgomery for juvenile parts. Haines of course was one of the first film stars outted as gay and his fall was a lucky break for Montgomery's career.
Best in the film is Trixie Friganza, a great vaudeville star who played Page's number. She really harries and harasses poor Keaton. Page has won some kind of contest and for reasons I can't explain the Chamber of Commerce of their hometown has appointed Keaton as her agent and manager. Like they have the right and the power. No wonder Trixie's mad at him.
If you've seen Pepe, you know how this turns out.
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