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The Show-Off (1934)

Approved | | Comedy | 9 March 1934 (USA)
Aubrey cons Amy into thinking he's a railroad bigwig. After they marry Aubrey overspends in setting up their home. When their financial situation gets dire they go back to her parents house... See full summary »

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(as Charles F. Reisner)
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Storyline

Aubrey cons Amy into thinking he's a railroad bigwig. After they marry Aubrey overspends in setting up their home. When their financial situation gets dire they go back to her parents house until Aubrey changes his ways and they can get on stable footing. When he loses his job he takes one wearing a sandwich board. After he helps Joe sell his patent for a good price and an old railroad deal comes through, he's back on top and ready to live high on the hog again. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HE WAS THE "TALK" OF THE TOWN - He knew everything --- except when to shut up!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved
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Release Date:

9 March 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Conta Prosa  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The part of J. Aubrey Piper was originally to be played by Lee Tracy, but his contract was terminated by MGM when, during the production in Mexico of Viva Villa! (1934), he got drunk, urinated off a balcony onto a passing patrol of Mexican soldiers (who almost shot him) and was deported from Mexico. Spencer Tracy got the part with the help of Frank Morgan, and afterwards signed a long-term contract with MGM. See more »

Connections

Version of The Show-Off (1926) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Days Are Here Again
(uncredited)
Written by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen
Whistled by Spencer Tracy
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User Reviews

Worth Watching for Tracy's Performance
2 July 2010 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Show Off, The (1934)

*** (out of 4)

J. Aubrey Piper (Spencer Tracy) is the ultimate blowhard, a man who never stops talking about everything great he's done yet he never realizes that he's never done a single worthwhile thing in his life. He eventually marries a girl (Madge Evans) but the two soon find themselves in debt with Aubrey losing more and more. He's eventually without a job and when his wife leaves him he must try and find someway to save face. This isn't the greatest comedy ever made as the direction is a bit sloppy and the screenplay has a few loose ends but what makes this thing so special is the performance by Tracy in his first role for MGM. This character is without question one of the biggest idiots in the history of cinema and if this person was involved in your real life even the most civil person would probably have to fight themselves in not punching him in the face. Aubrey is constantly telling lies, trying to make himself look better than he is and more often than not his lies end up costing other people their happiness. Apparently Lee Tracy was originally set to play this part but after his legendary incident in Mexico during the filming of VIVA VILLA! he was let go and Tracy got the part. This was certainly a great thing because I don't think there's another actor in the history of cinema that could have brought this character to life. Tracy's powerful attitude and strong voice brings this character to life and one can't help but overlook the character's flaws simply because of how magnificent the actor is. There's a running joke about the character being in one room but talking so loud that you could hear him a block away and even this is perfectly done by Tracy. The way he gives that powerful voice just takes over a room and you can't help but feel as if Tracy is this character. The mannerisms are perfect, the walk he gives and even the way he laughs at his own jokes. This certainly isn't Tracy's greatest work as an actor but I'd be willing to say it's one of the most memorable characters he has created. Evans is also extremely good as the suffering wife and we get strong supporting work from Grant Mitchell, Clara Blandick, Henry Wadsworth, Lois Wilson and Alan Edwards. I'm sure many will watch this film and just want to kill the Aubrey character and I'm sure many will hate the film simply because they hate this guy. I certainly understand this as there were times where I was hoping someone would do bodily harm to him. However, Tracy is just so terrific in bringing this character to life that I have no problem recommending the film.


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