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Fast Life (1932)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance, Sport | 16 December 1932 (USA)
Two sailors are leaving the US Navy after 10 years. In their spare time, one of them (Haines) invents a carburetor that should increase the speed that powered boats will run, but all that ... See full summary »


Harry A. Pollard (uncredited), Sam Wood (uncredited)


Byron Morgan (screen play), Ralph Spence (screen play) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
William Haines ... Sanderson 'Sandy' Burton
Madge Evans ... Shirley Norton
Conrad Nagel ... Clarence Burton
Arthur Byron ... John D. Jameson
Cliff Edwards ... Franz 'Bumpy' Jurgens
Warburton Gamble Warburton Gamble ... Halstead
Kenneth Thomson ... Mr. Williams
Albert Gran ... Van Vrinken
Ben Hendricks Jr. Ben Hendricks Jr. ... Sherman (as Ben Hendricks)


Two sailors are leaving the US Navy after 10 years. In their spare time, one of them (Haines) invents a carburetor that should increase the speed that powered boats will run, but all that they succeed in doing is to sink the Admiral's launch. After discharge, broke and out of work, they find work with a boat builder who wants the fastest race boat in the World. They design the boat, carburetor and the engine but lack of money and the foreclosure of the business hinders their efforts to prove the new design. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Moving Pictures are Back Again! (original poster) See more »


Comedy | Romance | Sport


Passed | See all certifications »





English | Spanish

Release Date:

16 December 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Let's Go See more »

Filming Locations:

San Pedro Bay, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The large vessel the speed boats race around is the S.S. Catalina. Built in 1924, it provided ferry service for up to 2,000 passengers from Los Angeles to Catalina Island. During WWII it was requisitioned as a troop transport around San Francisco Bay, carrying over 800,000 servicemen and women from 1942 to 1945. It was returned to ferry service in 1946. It was retired in 1975 as newer and faster ships came into service. It was bought by a private individual in 1977, and several schemes to re-purpose it, including a disco and a bar & grill came to naught. In 1997 it broke its mooring in Ensenada, Mexico and partially sank. It was finally scrapped in 2009. It has been estimated that this ship has carried more passengers than any other in history - upwards of 25,000,000 over its 50 year service life. See more »

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User Reviews

William Haines in top form
27 November 2010 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

It seems from some of the other reviews that some people just don't like William Haines or his movies. However, if you do like his films this is one of his best sound comedies, and his last for MGM. However he wasn't alone as Conrad Nagel and Cliff Edwards are also making their last contract appearances for MGM as that studio did some housecleaning of their early sound stars to make room for the new faces coming on board. Haines was alone in the sense that he chose to leave rather than submit to a fake "lavender marriage" to provide cover for his gay lifestyle as ordered by studio head Louis B. Mayer.

The film is quite amusing and fast-paced. It has the elements you normally find in a Haines comedy as far as his character's brashness outpacing his brains somewhat. Here Haines' character Sandy has an idea for a maritime engine that has the possibility of greatly increasing the speed of a boat. He's been getting no takers until the boat he's in is accidentally hit by the yacht of Shirley, the beautiful daughter (Madge Evans) of the owner of a boat building business. The girl's father, Mr. Jamison, takes a shine to Sandy from the start and agrees to build the boat partially as a business proposition but mainly because he wants to enter it into an international speedboat race and win the trophy for the U.S. out of patriotic pride. The initial prototype burns up on trial, bankrupts Jamison - who does not hold a grudge, and ruins his budding romance with Jamison's daughter - who does hold a grudge. Sandy knows how to fix the design, but everyone involved is broke with the exception of Sandy's competitor for Shirley's affections, banker Burton (Conrad Nagel). How can Sandy redeem himself with thousands of dollars for needed repairs that he doesn't have standing in the way? I'll let you watch and find out.

It was interesting to see Conrad Nagel play a bad guy for a change when his pleasant voice and appearance normally had him playing the hero. This is also a departure from Haines' normal part. Usually he starts out as a proud guy with the world at his feet when some fall from grace teaches him a lesson in teamwork, humility, or the value of hard work. Here, Haines' character starts out penniless and industrious, he's just looking for a break. It's an unusual and somewhat subtle endeavor for MGM into the championing of the working class over the banking class - Nagel plays a banker - that was probably popular with Depression audiences in 1932.

Also note Pete Smith, who made many shorts for MGM, as an announcer in the final scene of the film. Here you get to see Pete rather than just hear him as was the case in his many amusing short films of the era.

I'd recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the early talkies and enjoys the silly brash style of William Haines.

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