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What-No Beer? (1933)

What! No Beer? (original title)
Passed | | Comedy | 10 February 1933 (USA)
Two men decide to cash in on the end of Prohibition by selling watered down beer.

Director:

Edward Sedgwick

Writers:

Robert E. Hopkins (original story), Carey Wilson (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Buster Keaton ... Elmer J. Butts
Jimmy Durante ... Jimmy Potts
Roscoe Ates ... Schultz (as Rosco Ates)
Phyllis Barry ... Hortense
John Miljan ... Butch Lorado
Henry Armetta ... Tony
Edward Brophy ... Spike Moran
Charles Dunbar Charles Dunbar ... Mulligan
Charles Giblyn Charles Giblyn ... Chief
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Storyline

Although he has never met her, Elmer Butts loves Hortense secretly and from afar. He dreams of making a million dollars so he can buy her a Rolls automobile and marry her. With prohibition apparently on the verge of ending, Elmer's friend Jimmy Potts gets an idea to make them both rich by opening a brewery just before the legalization of alcoholic beverages. Their timing is off, and the police raid them, but their inept brewing has created a beer with no alcohol, so they are let off. But it has also resulted in a cheaply made beer, and bootlegger Spike Moran realizes that he can vastly increase his profits by partnering with Elmer and Jimmy. But none of them reckons with the competitor, another bootlegger, gangster Butch Lorado. Butch has a girlfriend....Elmer's dream girl, Hortense. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A New Deal for the "Speakeasily" boys as they chase the dames with dough...the master brewers of joy! See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 February 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What-No Beer? See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The unusual, large employee time clock in the brewery was made by the International Time Recording Company (which became IBM in 1929) circa 1910-12. It came in different models to accommodate up to 150 employees. It was a spring-driven clock with a huge cast iron wheel. The rim of the wheel was perforated with numbered holes. Each employee would rotate the pointer to their assigned number and press in. The machine would then record the time on a printed form and ring a bell. A two-colored ribbon printed "regular time" in green and all early, late and overtime in red. One of these units is on exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. See more »

Goofs

Elmer and Jimmy are told by the brewery's previous owner that the bank had foreclosed on him "years ago". If so, the bank would own the brewery and it wouldn't be his to sell. See more »

Quotes

Jimmy Potts: Why, he's so popular back East, that St. Louis claims he's from Milwaukee and Milwaukee claims he's from St. Louis.
See more »

Connections

References Spite Marriage (1929) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Days Are Here Again
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Milton Ager
Played by a band at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Forgettable, but that's the worst you can say about it
27 January 2012 | by MissSimonettaSee all my reviews

"What! No Beer?" is often given a bad reputation due to the fact that it proved to be the final American film in which silent comedian Buster Keaton was given a starring role. As it is with his other MGM talkies, he plays a dull-witted character whose intelligence level ranges from absent-minded to borderline stupid, and the fact that he's obviously drunk in several scenes doesn't help any. For the third time in his MGM career, he's the straight man to the loud, fast-talking Jimmy Durante, a comedy team which baffles the mind to this day. The hit-and-miss jokes and incompatible comedy styles of the leading actors don't make for a good film by any means, however, it's not the travesty so many Keatonphiles make it out to be.

For one thing, it's miles ahead of Keaton's first MGM vehicle, "Free and Easy", a farce so unfunny it's painful to watch. Whenever Durante isn't in the frame shouting, there are a few touches of good visual humor and slapstick. And even Durante gets some funny lines in there. The set-up is solid and love interest Phyllis Barry shows off some glamorous Depression era costume.

Is it great? No. Is it all that memorable? Not really. But if you love Keaton or Durante, then you might like to see it if you've got nothing to do. Just don't expect a desire to revisit it anytime soon.


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