6.3/10
452
16 user 12 critic

Search for Beauty (1934)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Romance | 2 February 1934 (USA)
Three con artists dupe two Olympians into serving as editors of a new health and beauty magazine which is only a front for salacious stories and pictures.

Director:

Writers:

(story), (story) (as Maurine Watkins) | 5 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Don Jackson (as Larry 'Buster' Crabbe)
...
Barbara Hilton
...
Larry Williams
...
Dan Healy
...
Sally Palmer
...
Jean Strange
...
Joe Garrett
...
Rev. Rankin
...
Miss Pettigrew
Virginia Hammond ...
Mrs. Archibald Henderson-James
...
Adolph Knockler
James B. 'Pop' Kenton ...
Caretaker (as 'Pop' Kenton)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Newspaper Reporter (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Three shady characters - Larry, Jean, and Dan - want to make money legally by resuscitating a fitness magazine with cheesecake and beefcake photos and salacious stories with tacked-on morals. They hire two recent Olympic champions as editors to give legitimacy: Barbara Hilton, an English diver, and Don Jackson, a U.S. swimmer. When Jackson and Hilton object to the magazine's contents, they send him on a worldwide search for beauty, for youthful paragons of fitness. When Barbara and Don want out of the partnership to start their own fitness farm, the trio hatches a plan to bilk the kids. Can Barbara and Don avoid being conned or will a femme fatale undo their partnership? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 February 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Conquista da Beleza  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Buster Crabbe plays an Olympic swimmer in the film. Before entering acting, Crabbe was a two-time Olympian, a bronze medalist in 1928 and a gold medal winner in 1932. See more »

Quotes

Dan Healy: [to Larry] You couldn't sell fresh fish to a starving seal.
See more »

Crazy Credits

With the 30 winners in the International Beauty Contest

chosen from England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and the United States. See more »

Connections

References Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) See more »

Soundtracks

Stars and Stripes Forever
(uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa (as John Phillip Sousa)
Played during the climactic callisthenics show
See more »

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User Reviews

 
pre-code, and boy, is it!
22 June 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The difference between films from their start to the early '30s and the post-1934 era is astounding.

In the '30s, you have femininely dressed women, single, dating, ogling men, and having sex. In the '40s, the clothes are stiff, tailored, the women are single and we're told they are unfulfilled and unhappy. Such was the code, which dictated morals to the movies and possibly to a lot of naive and unsophisticated people across the country. I know because my mother was one.

This film is precode at its most outrageous.

During the 1932 summer Olympics in LA, some con artists (James Gleason, Robert Armstrong, and Gertrude Michael), convince top athletes to endorse their health and fitness magazine.

In order to find the best of the best, as a publicity stunt, they stage an international competition. They send one of the endorsing athletes, Don Jackson (Buster Crabbe) out to find the athletes and get their consent to be part of a magazine spread.

While Don is conveniently out of the country, the cons publish the magazine they really intended to -- a tawdry cheesecake rag with lurid stories and plenty of sex.

When one of the athletes, Barbara (Ida Lupino) finds out what they're up to, she summons Don. To appease him, a deal is made whereby Don is given a farm that he and Barbara can turn into a health farm.

Well, the health farm as far as our erstwhile publishers are concerned is nothing more than a high-class bordello.

This is a fast-moving, fun film with men showing their naked butts, and women drooling over mens' bodies, (with one set of binoculars focused on Crabbe's crotch) and plenty of suggestive clothing.

Robert Armstrong and James Gleason are a couple of old pros and handle the dialogue well. Buster Crabbe was a gorgeous man, almost pretty, who was a two-time Olympic medalist in swimming, but he wasn't much of an actor. He played a lot of comic book heroes like Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and Captain Gallant, and did dozens of adventure films and westerns.

This was an early American film for Ida Lupino, who plays a star swimmer. She still has her British accent and sports the style of the day, platinum blonde hair and penciled in eyebrows. She is barely recognizable but she does a fine job.

The question is, was this film ahead of its time or was this the way things were? Well, my opinion is that this is the way things were in places like Hollywood and New York among the film and theater communities. I don't think the whole country was this way, nor do I think in the '40s the whole country was all THAT way. After all, men were going to war and might never see their girlfriends again. It was all somewhere in the middle, though the code would have had us believe differently.

Fun, and really needs to be seen to be believed.


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