Maybe It's Love (1930) Poster

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amusing comedy from Wellman
Sleepy-178 April 2004
Early Wellman is always entertaining, constantly throwing in weird directorial touches. This one's a genre football comedy (Horse Feathers etc.) that has quite a few amusing aspects. Number one is the young, intelligent and sexy Joan Bennett, who is amazing in the scene where she is under the canoe with a football player, and then back on shore with her wet dress showing everything she's got, pre-code. Wow! And then there's Joe E. Brown, who in those days speed-read a a script and tossed it aside. Watch for the scene with the lovers before, across, under and behind the fountain; the hand-held (!) camera following the lovers through the trees; the amateur actors/football players in so many encounters with Bennett. The plot of this film deals with sexual recruitment of football players, which reflects uncomfortably on current issues on the Colorado campus. Not a good movie by any means, but it has great acting, great direction and a few good laughs. Made by young people with an astonishing quantity of talent, way back when it was still possible to make a stale story shine. 1930!
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Joan Bennett Gets Wet
wes-connors21 August 2007
To help her college's faltering football team, beautiful Joan Bennett (Nan) must seduce hunky football players into transferring to her school. It's the bright idea of gay friend Joe E. Brown (Yates). Will the young men discover each other? Will Ms. Bennett find true love among them? Will Upton win the "Big Game"?

"Maybe It's Love / Eleven Men and a Girl" is interesting in that it features Bennett and Brown on their way to becoming successful in the "talkies". They aren't there yet - Bennett is unspectacular and Brown's shrieks are more annoying than funny; later, he would successfully refine his comic persona. The best scene is early on, when Bennett and one of her football players topple their canoe, and emerge soaking wet.

*** Maybe It's Love (1930) William A. Wellman ~ Joan Bennett, Joe E. Brown, James Hall
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One Great Minute Out Of Seventy-Two
bbrebozo25 November 2014
Do yourself a favor. When this movie comes on, don't watch it, just save it. Then fast forward to about 15 or 20 minutes into the film, when Joan Bennett falls out of a canoe and climbs out of the water. Watch the one minute or so when she stands on the shore, soaking wet and apparently underwear-less in a clinging and largely transparent white dress. Then erase the movie. You've seen the best that this film has to offer.

I love Joe E. Brown, but he was a work in progress when this film was made. He greatly overdoes his loud, siren-like voice, and his slapstick is broad and unsubtle. All of the acting is wooden and stiff. And the gimmick of using real all-star football players in the cast certainly didn't add to the overall acting quality.

The script is nearly devoid of any actually funny lines, and the romantic "tension" that is supposed to develop isn't at all dramatic or interesting. There's not a bit of chemistry between the two actors who are supposed to fall in love. If you are a Joe E. Brown fan, he's made much better films. Although if you are a Joan Bennett fan, I have to admit, her other films probably never showed her off in quite the same way...
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Eleven Men And A Girl
Ron Oliver18 August 2003
A pretty coed uses an ancient feminine technique to entice an All-American team of football players to enroll at her father's college.

Comic Joe E. Brown dominates this mild little comedy from what is essentially a supporting role and there are longish periods of screen time when he all but disappears. Front & center, however, he is very funny, his elastic face and enormous mouth a sure sign of hilarity for the audience. Whether teaching young Joan Bennett how to flirt with boys, dealing with a honey-hungry bear, or becoming frantic while locked in a cellar during the final football game with a very belligerent millionaire, Brown always knows how to churn out the laughs.

While Brown is allowed no romantics of his own, that department is very capably handled by Miss Bennett & likable rich kid James Hall. Their sequences together are pleasant, although unremarkable.

An uncredited Anders Randolf plays Hall's wealthy, apoplectic father. The All-American Football Eleven from the late 1920's play themselves and they are a sturdy inclusion. One or two can even almost act.

This film is sometimes shown under the title ELEVEN MEN AND A GIRL (1930).
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Maybe It's Love - But Is It Football!!!
kidboots24 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Warner's gimmick for this football romance was the presence of the 1930 All American football team - not the reteaming of Joe E. Brown and Laura Lee (from the earlier "Top Speed") or the rising new star, Joan Bennett.

The plot (such as it is) has Speed Hanson (Brown), the standout footballer for tiny Upton College, conspire with studious Nan Sheffield (Bennett, with glasses no less), daughter of the school president, to lure the nation's best players there, using her "feminine wiles"!! This is to please the Upton trustees who will oust Nan's father if the college loses the big game for the 13th straight year!!

"Maybe it's love but it isn't college with Joan Bennett wandering at will into men's dormitories" so said the Photoplay review but all in all they seemed to like it. With her glasses off Nan takes to flirting like a duck to water, making the players dizzy with her little girl lost routine and of course her slightly off key singing of "Maybe It's Love" (which is reprised 5 times during the movie).

When she meets Tommy Nelson (James Hall), a star player whose father is determined he will not go to Upton, all pretense is gone but when he overhears two of the other footballers getting hot and bothered about his Nan, he realises they have all been played for chumps. Of course, after she is forced to confess her antics and been forgiven, the boy's dormitory becomes a setting for a medley of the movie's songs - "Maybe It's Love", the very catchy "All American" and a Busby Berkeley like finale, complete with overhead camera work for "Keep It Up for Upton". That's why I just love these early musicals, if only real life was so nice and simple!!

I have read that when movies were first shown on TV, they were heavily edited to fit in commercial breaks into their allotted time span. I am sure that is what happened with this movie. Laura Lee, who had been teamed with Joe E. Brown in "Top Speed" and received more than her fair share of musical numbers (at the expense of star Bernice Clair) was only given a minute of screen time in "Maybe It's Love". Odd, especially when she was fourth billed and in the earlier movie she and Brown were given a couple of duets which proved to be the hit of the movie. Apparently in the original "Maybe It's Love" screenplay there are two Brown/Lee numbers - "I Love to Do It" and "All American" (which deserved more than the chorus it was given). Who knows what happened to those numbers but they would have been a welcome relief. Brown provided some funny sequences but he didn't get to sing and the film belonged to the love birds - Joan Bennett and James Hall.
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Wild Bill Picks Up the Football, Joe E. Brown Scores
DLewis22 October 2011
Along with the extraordinary output of William Wellman -- "Public Enemy, "Wings," "Wild Boys on the Road," "A Star is Born" and so forth -- there are a number of fairly ordinary entertainment films such as the studio would have wanted made. "Eleven Men and a Girl" -- which is the title I saw it under -- is one of them, a college football comedy played by Joan Bennett, Joe E. Brown and a squad of non-acting football players drawn from the ranks of the top teams of the two previous seasons. There are several visual touches that drive this above the purely ordinary, such as a graph of a football field, with positions indicated, each marked by a photo of the heroine (Bennett), whose gentle scheme is to get all of the fellas to believe that they have a sweetheart in her order to pump them up to greatness, as per George Ade's play "The College Widow," already filmed twice before. As the camera moves along the photos, cutaways are used to show the boys practicing hard, striving to make their game better. The film is dominated, however, by rubber-faced comedian Joe E. Brown, and this picture was important in establishing his popularity among film goers, although he would make better ones. Brown's trademark yowl is perhaps too much in evidence in the course of this picture, but audiences got the gag, and it was a sound-specific gag, important in 1930. Drawbacks, however, include Bennett's under-baked performance and those of the football players who prove that, in 1930 as now, the vast majority of footballers cannot act, despite whatever acumen they may have on the gridiron. For Wellman, this project may have just been something to get out of the way so that he could start work on "Public Enemy," but the film is at its best when he decides to linger on a detail; otherwise, it could have been a two-reeler.
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Maybe it's love, maybe it's not?
raskimono23 September 2003
There's not much to recommend to this movie. Joan Bennett, a good actress can't carry a movie. Flimsy story, flimsy plot, flimsy acting by a real set of all-American football team to play an all-American football team creates scenes of wooden acting. Maybe the one guy with nice cheek-bones who has one or two lines does good work. Joe E. Brown in an obvious supporting role to add levity to the proceedings is actually annoying and I like him in his lead roles. Nice hit song though titled "Maybe it's love" is song and played at least three times. Can't save the movie tho. No, there is no love lost with this movie.
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Not much of comedy, with Joe E. Brown doing his usual mugging.
Art-2229 April 1999
I'm a Joe E. Brown fan from way back, but this film doesn't give him much to work with. He does his usual open-mouthed scream that starts out like a siren a few times, but little else other than move the story along. The idea of getting eleven of the All-American football stars from the 1928 - 29 season in a movie about football may have been a good one in 1929, but their names are meaningless (to me anyway) 70 years later. And their acting is awful. Even Joan Bennett, who uses her sexual wiles to get them to come to the college to form a winning team, seems to act very stiffly. Unless you are a football fan and enjoy watching some action, there isn't much to recommend.
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Mildly Amusing
dougdoepke3 August 2016
A prestige college uses a co-ed's wiles to entice top football players to enroll so that the college can finally beat its long-time rival.

I suspect the main interest now in this slender concoction are the 1920's college All-Americans. Note that all are white, and one even plays sans helmet, the better to show off his mop of blond hair, I guess. Comedic moments are supplied by irrepressible Joe E. Brown, whose gaping mouth may scare little kids, but with enough nimble moves to match an acrobat. Then there's budding star Joan Bennett showing it all beneath a wet dress-- move over, Playboy. No wonder Edward G. Robinson chased her happily to his near doom in Woman In The Window (1944). Too bad about leading man James Hall. He's not much of an actor and apparently drank himself to death at only age 40 (IMDB). Not much to recommend with this antique, except for Brown and Bennett clearly on their way up the Hollywood ladder.
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romantic comedy, college, football, this movie has it all
jpickerel19 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
There is so little actual plot to this movie it would be difficult to write a spoiler if one wanted to. It involves a college president's daughter (Joan Bennett) and her attempts to save her father's job by improving the football team's performance. Using her considerable stock of feminine wiles (she takes off her glasses), she somehow manages to meet and romance every All American football player in the country, and attempts to lure them to Upton University. Yet this movie could have had a lot going for it. I've already mentioned Joan Bennett. Pretty. Even prettier when soaking wet from a canoe accident. She learned to act, but not by the time this film was made. James Hall was the love interest here. You may never have heard of him. His role in this picture may be the reason. Joe E. Brown provides the comedy relief, although his talent seems to be largely wasted, as though the director and writers didn't quite know what to do with him. And yet.... It's worth watching, to see a young Joan Bennett in the early stages of a long and busy career. To see the athleticism in even the most ordinary movements of Joe E. Brown. And to remember and appreciate the names and faces of the 1929 college All Americans who played themselves in this movie, and did it so badly.
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Michael_Elliott27 February 2008
Maybe It's Love (1930)

** (out of 4)

Joan Bennett plays a woman who's father is president at a local university and about to be fired unless the football team can bring a trophy home. With nothing to lose, the girl goes out and tries to get the best team possible. This comedy is best remembered for featuring eleven of the 1928 and 1929 All-American football players but they add very little laughs in this dry comedy. Joe E. Brown plays a supporting part and gets the best laughs during one scene where he mistakes a bear for a cow. Bennett isn't very strong in the film and the movie suffers from her non-comic performance, which all leads to a predictable ending.
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**** Slight Comedy
GManfred20 February 2018
The only reason to watch this film is Joe E. Brown, who is funny under most any circumstances. But here he is not given good material and relies on his outsized mouth to holler from time to time. The other reason is to see Joan Bennett as a blonde. She is forced to carry the picture as best she can, and at least she is lovely to look at. Also on hand is the 1930 All-America Football team playing themselves and not given much to do acting-wise.

Interesting to note how popular tastes have changed. In 1930 there was a lot more enthusiasm for football and for those football heroes they called Big Man On Campus. Now it seems societal values are different and football is bigger off-campus than on. Most of the crowd here wore suits and ties and in one scene Brown wore the traditional raccoon coat of yesteryears football fan. Not much fun or excitement here and the plot is threadbare by now. Wonder if it was more watchable a long time ago.
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Of interest, perhaps, to football historians
jimjo121610 March 2015
Comedy star Joe E. Brown is given very little to do in a secondary role in this lame college football quickie. Twenty-year-old Joan Bennett stars as the university president's daughter who uses her charms to attract football talent to Upton in order to beat the school's rival and save her father's job. As a kind of gimmick, the cast includes several real-life collegiate football stars, but seen eighty-plus years later all that remains is amateur acting in a weak script (although admittedly I'm more of a baseball guy). Doughy leading man James Hall stands out like a sore thumb as the "star quarterback" among a roster of actual athletes.
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A fundamentally unfunny plot idea...
MartinHafer31 July 2016
Joe E. Brown plays Yates--a football player for a second-rate college team. He's heard that his coach will be fired unless the team starts winning so he and the coach's daughter, Nan (Joan Bennett), come up with a really sleazy plan. She'll vamp a bunch of All-American players and convince them she's in love with them in order to get them to switch to her father's school! Not surprisingly, eventually the guys figure out that she's been stringing them all along and they are naturally furious. Sadly, she really has fallen for Tommy...but he won't believe she isn't leading him on as well.

This plot idea is a serious problem. It's just not that funny and you really can't help but think Nan is a real....well, IMDb won't let me use that word. It helps a bit that the football players really WERE All-Americans from the 1928-29 season...that is interesting. But they also weren't the best actors...nor was co- star Brown. While I've never been a huge fan of his comedies, here he has almost nothing to do other than to be annoying and make weird sounds periodically. The ending, also, is inexplicable. All in all, a forgettable film with lots of plot problems.

By the way, most of the comedians of the day made football films. Apart from Laurel & Hardy, Joe E. Brown, Wheeler & Woolsey, The Marx Brothers as well as The Three Stooges made football films and they sold very well.
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Prepare to be amazed!
JohnHowardReid10 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
In this amazing picture (re-issued under the title, Eleven Men and a Girl), director William A. Wellman takes ten real-life, college football heroes and proceeds to make namby-pambies out of them, especially in a fantastic sequence in which the ten reveal their true identities and dance the wriggle-wiggle around the girl (Joan Bennett)! The eleventh man is our old Hell's Angels friend, James Hall, here beginning the downward slide that was to make him a totally forgotten man by 1932. Odd man out here, of course, is Joe E. Brown who doesn't really have very much to do – beyond a very sluggishly-paced episode with a bear – until the climax in which he perpetrates some amazingly hilarious variations on the theme of climbing up to a window where he gives vent to his famous yell. The screenwriter has named the college, "Upton", and it fits Joe E.'s mouth amusingly well. Moving on to Miss Bennett, it must be mentioned that she is not particularly well served here by both the photographer and the costumes designer. It actually took ten years for these Hollywood guys to get their acts together and make Miss Bennett look really great on the screen! Director William A. Wellman, however, was already most fortunately right at home and he has incorporated some typical bits of Wellman business – the camera going through a water fountain or riding on the bonnet of a car. Also already on top of their games here are musician, Erno Rapee, who directed both the pleasant background score and the musical numbers with considerable aplomb (despite what is written in the credits, at this stage Louis Silvers was actually Rapee's assistant); and film editor, Ed McDermott, whose integration of silent stock footage is amazingly dexterous. Soon after he finished editing Night Nurse, Ed died at the early age of 35 in 1931.
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