Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tonight's Movie: You Said a Mouthful (1932) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

YOU SAID A MOUTHFUL (1932) is one of several Joe E. Brown comedies recently released by the Warner Archive.

YOU SAID A MOUTHFUL attracted my attention as it costars two actors I especially enjoy, Ginger Rogers and Preston Foster.

Brown plays Joe Holt, who quits his job as a shipping clerk at a swimsuit company when he inherits his aunt's estate. He moves from Iowa to California, only to learn that the estate is worthless -- though he does acquire responsibility for Sam, the orphaned child of his aunt's longtime servant.

Joe and Sam head for a boat to Catalina to apply for hotel jobs at the island resort, when Joe is mistaken for another Joe Holt (Guinn "Big Boy" Williams), a swimming champion. By the time the baffled Joe realizes the mistake, he's so taken with lovely socialite Alice (Rogers) that he's reluctant to confess to her that he can't swim.

Alice begs Joe to beat the conceited Ed (Foster) in a race from Catalina to the California coast. And while Joe can't swim, he did invent an unsinkable bathing suit while working back at the swimsuit company...

I had decidedly mixed feelings about YOU SAID A MOUTHFUL. With apologies to his fans, the asexual Brown, who seems elderly at 40, does absolutely nothing for me. I particularly didn't care for the film's earliest scenes, when he's an object of pity, humiliated by cruel coworkers, or when he's crushed to learn that the "fortune" he inherited from his aunt amounts to all of $5.

On the other hand, this is a tight, well-constructed story which plays out in a quick 70 minutes. The film is buoyed -- okay, pun intended -- by fantastic location filming on Santa Catalina Island as well as the strong presences of both Rogers and Foster, in the early years of their careers. It's fun to see Ginger with baby fat, not yet the wisecracking type, and Foster without his trademark mustache!

Some scenes with shots of Avalon Bay and the Casino from the balcony of Ginger's home are simply lovely, not to mention being of some historical value.

I was also surprised and impressed by Farina (OUR GANG) as Sam, the ward Joe "inherits." He delivered some very good lines with aplomb, and I especially loved a scene where the worried Sam prays, first apologizing for bothering God so early in the morning. He plays the role with authority, attempting to encourage and even "train" Joe; although he's a child, in many ways he's the more mature of the twosome.

In the end, I enjoyed YOU SAID A MOUTHFUL fairly well, although despite its star, rather than because of him.

YOU SAID A MOUTHFUL was directed by Lloyd Bacon and filmed by Richard Towers.

The gowns were designed by Orry-Kelly. And get a good look at Ginger's huge hat when she's walking on the beach!

Bess Flowers Fan Club Alert: Bess can be spotted on a boat next to the race commentator in the final minutes of the film.

The DVD print is crisp, with some exteriors that look especially nice. The DVD includes the trailer.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.


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