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A drunkard climbs a ladder into a bedroom in the wrong house and gets romantically involved with the woman who lives there.


J.C. Nugent


J.C. Nugent (story and dialogue), Ralph Spence (interpolations)

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Complete credited cast:
Jack Benny ... Mr. Bartlett
Dorothy Sebastian ... Ethel Dalton
George K. Arthur ... Alfred Brown
Polly Moran ... Mary


Bartlett, a well dressed but drunk man, is able to convince a policeman passing by that the ladder he has set up to a second floor apartment building window is him trying to get into his own home. When he gets to the top of the ladder and into the room, he finds that it isn't his apartment, but that belonging to a beautiful young woman. She is socialite Ethel Dalton, who has just had an engagement-breaking argument with her fiancé, Alfred Brown, as she saw him seemingly cavorting with another woman. Despite being initially frightened by this strange young man in her apartment, she offers him a proposition: with a generous monthly stipend, marry her in name only, although they are to act married in public but not in private. He accepts. The next day when Ethel and Bartlett are to get married, she learns that what she saw Alfred doing with the other woman was innocent. The result is an unusual love triangle of sorts as Bartlett is still in the picture. That same policeman from the night... Written by Huggo

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Plot Keywords:

rich snob | See All (1) »


Comedy | Short







Release Date:

18 January 1930 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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User Reviews

A bit talky and dated but important to folks who love film history.
22 July 2013 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"The Rounder" is a very early short with Jack Benny. Like many early talking comedies, this one is very talky and static--mostly because studios really didn't know what to do with stage comics. Also, because of the primitive sound equipment, folks often stood around in these films. In light of this, while "The Rounder" is not a particularly great film, it stacks up reasonably well with similar early talking shorts from other comics like Bob Hope, George Jessel, Smith & Dale and the like.

It begins with a drunk* (Benny) trying to climb into the window of his house, as he cannot find his key. However, it turns out NOT to be his place and the woman inside offers him a bizarre proposition--she'll pay him to pretend to be her husband in public! Where all this goes, you'll just have to see it for yourself.

*Benny's drunk imitation is one of the worst in film history, as he didn't look or sound the least bit drunk. Not an auspicious performance, that's for sure!

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