Free and Easy (1930)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Musical  |  22 March 1930 (USA)
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Reviews: 27 user | 12 critic

A bumbling manager tries to get a small town beauty contest winner into the movies.



(scenario), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Trixie Friganza ...
Fred Niblo ...
Director Fred Niblo
Edgar Dearing ...
Studio Gate Guard
Gwen Lee - Actress in Bedroom Scene
John Miljan ...
John Miljan - Actor in Bedroom Scene
William Haines - Guest at Premiere
William Collier Sr. ...
William Collier Jr. - Master of Ceremonies at Premiere
Dorothy Sebastian - Actress in Cave Scene
David Burton ...
Director DavidBurton


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Musical


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

22 March 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Easy Go  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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. Buster Keaton, who plays Elmer Butts, was also born in 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 »


Elmer Butts: Oh woe is me, the queen has swooned, after you.
Fred Niblo: The queen didn't swoon after me!
Elmer Butts: She swoon after me?
Fred Niblo: She didn't swoon after anybody!
Elmer Butts: Then why all the excitement?
See more »


Referenced in The Party (1968) See more »


The Free And Easy
(1930) (uncredited)
Lyrics by Roy Turk
Music by Fred E. Ahlert
Played during the opening credits
Sung and danced by Buster Keaton, with Marion Shilling and chorus
Copyright 1930 Robbins Music Corporation
See more »

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User Reviews

Buster Keaton's Talkie Debut
10 August 2000 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A FREE AND EASY, hapless young man escorts Miss Gopher City, Kansas & her unspeakable mother out west to Hollywood, where they hope to make her a big time movie star. Fate, however, in the shape of a handsome movie actor, intervenes...

With the end of the Silent Era, and Keaton no longer in control of his own career, FREE AND EASY was to be his first talking picture. While certainly not a classic, it has a certain small charm of its own and Keaton does a valiant job to provide both laughs & pathos. It is really not fair to compare Keaton's sound films with his silent masterpieces. They were two very different art forms.

It is great fun to watch Buster stumble about the MGM lot, leaving chaos in his wake wherever he goes. Although there are awkward moments of staging, due largely to the restrictions of the microphone, Keaton's genius still shines through. He is given wonderful support from mammoth vaudeville veteran Trixie Friganza, as the ghastly stage mother. With her booming voice & facile face, she is able to steal scenes even from Keaton. They are hilarious together in their `Oh King! Oh Queen!' musical number.

Lovely Anita Page, as Miss Gopher City, gets small chance to do anything here besides look lovely. But Robert Montgomery, as the movie actor, gets to show-off some of the charm that would very soon make him a major star.

Verisimilitude is added to Keaton's chaotic adventures in Hollywood by peppering the scenes with real celebrities from the era appearing as themselves. Movie mavens should have fun spotting them: directors Cecil B. DeMille, Fred Niblo & Lionel Barrymore, as well as Jackie Coogan, Karl Dane, Dorothy Sebastian, John Miljan, Gwen Lee and 1930's top box office male, William Haines. That's Edward Brophy as the Stage Manager.

15 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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