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The Passionate Plumber (1932)

Passed | | Comedy | 6 February 1932 (USA)
To make her lover jealous, a beautiful socialite passes off a bumbling plumber as her paramour.


Edward Sedgwick


Laurence E. Johnson (adaptation), Ralph Spence (dialogue)


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Complete credited cast:
Buster Keaton ... Elmer E. Tuttle
Jimmy Durante ... Julius J. McCracken
Polly Moran ... Albine
Irene Purcell ... Patricia Jardine
Gilbert Roland ... Tony Lagorce
Mona Maris ... Nina Estrados
Maude Eburne ... Aunt Charlotte
Henry Armetta ... Bouncer
Paul Porcasi ... Paul Le Maire
Jean Del Val ... Chauffeur
August Tollaire August Tollaire ... General Bouschay


Elmer Tuttle, a plumber in Paris, is enlisted by beautiful Patricia Alden to help her make her lover Tony Lagorce jealous. Tony, however, is two-timing Patricia with Nina Estrados. Elmer, with the help of his friend Julius, hopes to use the high-society contacts he's made with Patricia to find a market for his new invention, a pistol with a range-finding light. But Elmer's attempts to interest a military leader are mistaken for assassination attempts, and with Tony and half the male uppercrust of France challenging Elmer to duels, he is in hot water not even his plumbing skills can drain away. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Passionate Plumber was the un-handiest handy-man in town! (1962 reissue lobby card). See more »




Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 February 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Passionate Plumber 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:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


MGM's first attempt to promote Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante as a comedy team. See more »


Elmer: Say, if your pipes ever freeze or you need your shower fixed, I'll do it for nothin'. Isn't there something I can do for ya?
Patricia: Yes, there is! You look like a man who can be depended upon. If you made a promise, you'd go through with it, wouldn't you? Well, now this is what I want you to do for me. I want you to stand between me and Tony Lagorce. I want you to act as my lover.
Elmer: Oh, I couldn't charge for that!
See more »


Featured in So Funny It Hurt: Buster Keaton & MGM (2004) See more »


(1925) (uncredited)
Music by Erno Rapee
See more »

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User Reviews

Not Keaton's best work, but interesting to see Durante and Maris
20 March 2018 | by Antonius BlockSee all my reviews

A weak plot, tired gags, and repetitiveness make this certainly one of Keaton's lesser efforts. It is amusing to see him running around (as it always is for me), such as early on when he races up the stairs with the maid. He has a duel scene, not doesn't quite getting the concept of the glove's use in a challenge. His first response is to whip the bath towel that he's using to cover himself with to slap his challenger back, as we hear the lady of the house shriek. Later he slaps people indiscriminately when they annoy him, and then instead of pacing the other direction in the duel, walking behind his opponent. I also liked his scenes with the little dog, and how he created his own stethoscope out of plumber's tools.

It was also interesting to see him paired with Jimmy Durante. Durante's nose takes some abuse which tickled me, and while he has his share of groaners in the film, his energetic delivery, punctuated with a sidelong glance, open mouth, and "haaaaa!", is endearing. Some of his better quips: "It'll be the greatest invention since Einstein discovered them relatives!" "Say, he's no bargain - that guy has done more chiselin' than Rodin!" "Don't I always stand at attention when they play The Mayonnaise?" (they're in France, so punning for Marseilles)

Lastly, Mona Maris, an actress from Argentina, really jumps off the screen in her supporting role. She's stunning, though the bit that has her throwing plates and whatnot out of anger in consecutive scenes got old pretty quickly. The other actors, Irene Purcell and Gilbert Roland, were less compelling. Having Roland be a cad who is seeing two women and telling each that he's married to the other, so that he can't possibly get married, and then Keaton being used in retaliation to make him jealous is an interesting idea, but it's poorly executed. Watchable for Keaton, Durante, or Mona Maris fans only.

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