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Speak Easily
Speak Easily
Actors: Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante, Ruth Selwyn, Thelma Todd, Hedda Hopper
Director: Edward Sedgwick
Genres: Comedy
NR     2004     1hr 20min

Studio: Gotham (dba Alpha) Release Date: 06/22/2004


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Movie Details

Actors: Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante, Ruth Selwyn, Thelma Todd, Hedda Hopper
Director: Edward Sedgwick
Creators: Buster Keaton, Harold Wenstrom, William LeVanway, Clarence Budington Kelland, Laurence E. Johnson, Ralph Spence
Genres: Comedy
Sub-Genres: Classic Comedies
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 06/22/2004
Original Release Date: 08/13/1932
Theatrical Release Date: 08/13/1932
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Keaton Comedy "Easy" To Enjoy
Alex Udvary | chicago, il United States | 07/21/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Boy! Am I in the minority opinion here or what?

I have often heard the complaints that when Buster started making sound pictures and signed with MGM his career was over. And I even believe Buster made remarks to that effect as well. But, I don't know, I don't mind Buster's sound pictures. Granted I have only seen a few of them, I think of them as light diversions. I also don't mind the films Laurel & Hardy made in the 40s.

"Speak Easily" has Buster Keaton playing Professor Post, a lonely man who never gets a chance to go out and lead a social life. He has no friends, no love in his life and only his butler to tell his worries to. One day Buster finds out he has inherited 750,000. He sets off and plans to go out a live life. Do all the things he's always wanted to do.

"Speak Easily" works best in the early moments and then struggles trying to find the correct tone. Maybe this is because Keaton and Durante had such different comedy styles.

But I still don't think of this as a bad movie and wouldn't mind watching it again. It may not be as good as some of Buster's silent films such as "Sherlock, Jr.", "The General", and "Our Hospitality".

The movie was directed by Edward Sedgwick, who directed several of Keaton's later films starting with in order of preference; "The Cameraman", "Spite Marriage", "Doughboys", and "The Passionate Plumber" (Also with Durante), though I prefer "Plumber" over this movie.

But "Speak Easily" has some good slapstick moments, particulary at the end of the film. I also liked a scene between Keaton and Thelma Todd, as an actress trying to get into Buster's good graces. And a gag dealing with a train in the beginning I found funny.

I'm sorry, surprised, and slightly embarrassed to find I'm the only one who likes this movie, but contrary to what you've heard I'd recommend Keaton fans take a look at this one.

Bottom-line: Enjoyable, light Keaton "talkie" that offers laughs but does have its problems. Has enough moments that made me laugh to suggest the movie to fans. Or maybe I'm a pushover for Keaton?"
Underrated Keaton Gem
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 08/03/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Despite his personal troubles during the early 1930s, Buster Keaton reveals another dimension of his comic talent in "Speak Easily." He gives a splendid performance as Timolean Zanders Post, an isolated professor who believes he has inherited $750,000. With this mistaken financial security, he manages a struggling vaudeville troupe that he takes to Broadway. "Speak Easily" was the second MGM film to pair Keaton with Jimmy Durante. Though an unusual combination, they work remarkably well in this enjoyable musical-comedy - one of the few movies that displays Keaton's flair for verbal humor. The result is the best of Keaton's MGM talkies."
The Great Stoneface on the Great White Way
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 05/24/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"SPEAK EASILY (1932) - Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante, Ruth Selwyn, Thelma Todd, Hedda Hopper, Sidney Toler, Edward Brophy

MGM's star transition from Buster to Jimmy continues, yet here Keaton holds his own as Timoleon Zanders Post, a lonely college professor who, wrongly believing he's inherited $750K, goes out into the world. Smitten by a talentless ingenue, Post invests in a crummy stageshow so he can take it to Broadway. Durante plays colorful entrepreneur/song-and-dance man 'Jimmy' Dodge, who at one jubilant point sings a few lines from his signature piece, "Can Broadway Do Without Me?"

During NY rehearsals, the self-appointed starlet (Todd) of newly dubbed and tweaked musical revue "Speak Easily" invites Professor Post to her apartment for an intimate party. They get roaring drunk, she passes out and the gentlemanly Post manages to drag the woman to her bed. Then he disrobes, hangs his suit on an imaginary rack in the outside hall and collapses in the other bed.

Comes dawn and with it, two giant hangovers. Feigning anger, the actress questions what happened, blames innocent Post for getting her blotto and tells him to leave. While he gathers his things, she sneakily phones a friend (Brophy) and urges him to hurry right over and pretend to be her irate brother. When the "brother" suddenly arrives, suitless Post hides in the other room while Brophy bellows that this cad must marry his sister.

As he's carrying on, Jimmy climbs the fire escape and sends the dignified Post scurrying down it in his own flashy checkered duds. Then ol' banana nose bursts out of the bedroom half-dressed to cheerily announce that it'll be a sacrifice, but he'll marry the girl! It's a classic switcheroo that foils the scheme of golddigging Todd and Brophy.

This story's last 20 minutes equals A NIGHT AT THE OPERA's zany finale, with Buster showing considerable acrobatic skills, as his Professor goes onstage several times during premiere night and inadvertently disrupts the show, much to the delight of its audience.

Absolute chaos is heightened by a bill collector with an injuction who, when he corners Post, will demand an owed 10K or he'll close the show. At first he doesn't believe that clownish Keaton is the smash hit's owner and not its star; his payment demands are met when an investor with deep pockets buys half-interest in Speak Easily. Post gets the girl of his dreams and it's a happily ever after ending to a thoroughly satisfying comedy.

Highly recommended!"
Not the Worst of the MGM's
Brigalow | Australia | 05/08/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Keaton made worst movies that this for MGM - Free and Easy is the one that springs to my mind. In saying that this is no masterpiece, far from it.

The storyline leads to what should be a funny movie and parts of this are, for instance the scene with Thelma Todd at the hotel room (BTW love that drinks cabinet) and the morning after. I also like the little bit at the beginning with the train. And I like the Theatre Scenes at the end of the movie.

But like nearly everyone here we all know what was to come after so we know that this is the beginning of the end for Keaton at MGM. Durante and Keaton are not a good mix, Cliff Edwards and Keaton would have been much better combination.