11 user 3 critic

Palooka (1934)

Unrated | | Comedy, Music | 26 January 1934 (USA)
Knobby discovers young hunk Palooka and trains him to fight the reigning champ, also drunken sot, Al McSwatt.



(comic strip creator), (screen play) | 4 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Mayme Palooka
Pete Palooka
Al McSwatt
Doc Wise
Smokey (as Snowflake)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gus Arnheim ...
Orchestra Bandleader


Mayme walks out on her husband, Pete Palooka, after he wins the middleweight championship and shows his proclivity for life in the fast lane. She raises son Joe on a farm, by herself. When slippery fight manager Knobby Walsh happens to discover Joe's surprising punching power, he signs him. With current champion Al McSwatt needing an easy opponent, Walsh gets Joe the fight. Palooka steals the championship( and girlfriend Nina Madero) from McSwatt when McSwatt shows up for the fight drunk. Now it's Joe's turn to live in the fast lane, winning fights(that are set ups by Walsh) and drinking hard with vamp Nina. However, when McSwatt and his manager trick Joe into a rematch, it's time to test his real boxing talent. Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Music


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 January 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Joe Palooka  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


United Artists/Reliance production number 8200. See more »


Knobby Walsh: You'll find it different here than down on the farm, Mrs. Palooka.
Mayme Palooka: Don't small-town me. I shook a hip-load of beads in this burg while it was still teethin'
See more »


Followed by Joe Palooka in The Counterpunch (1949) See more »


Count Your Blessings
(1933) (uncredited)
Music by Ferde Grofé Sr.
Played as background music
See more »

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User Reviews

Not a Wise Set-Up
21 October 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Hilarious pre censorship code boxing farce with Jummy Durante and Stuart Erwin, this homespun Vs city comedy about fixed boxing matches pre dates the Robert Wise classic by 15 years. It's an altogether different tone but with a similar theme: set-up boxing bouts. This one is played for laughs and sappy romance.....the attraction here definitely being the very rude and outright vulgarity of the comedy. Durante is flapping about snozzling his ridiculous comedy style with double meaning retorts and, glamorpuss bra-less nightclub floozie Lupe Velez whilst clearly not wearing underwear beneath her silk gowns has a neckline plunge so low it's a wonder viewers didn't see the map of Tasmania, so to speak. One outright hilarious scene with a French waiter saying "Oui Oui" repeatedly gets yelled at by an exasperated Durante who says "Alfonse! Will you stop wee weeing all over the place". Durante's theme song "Inka Dinka Doo" was obviously a gramophone hit in this era and gets a show spot all to itself. The laughter of Depression viewers in giant old theaters would have lifted the roof on many occasions in this one hour sparring match of one-liners. Everyone gets walloped, even Mother belts Hubby's showgirl pick-up square on the jaw in reel one. Stuart Erwin plays his usual "aww gee" hick character, and James Cagney's lookalike brother (astonishingly so) William, plays Mc Swatt the bad dude boxer also chasing Lupe's hemline. It's a very funny film. The DVD disc available in shops in Oz is OK, more like a DVD rom with some grainy pixilation. Made by Reliance Pictures, who sound like Majestic or Liberty or Chesterfield Pictures, all poverty row outfits of the time, I have a suspicion it is again, a faux Tiffany Production: they folded in 1932 but clearly kept the lot running as various other "name" brands used the facilities. The production values of PALOOKA a very good with the style of decor and design of a Tiffany Production.

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