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Laugh and Get Rich

(1931 b 72')

En: 5 Ed: 4

A family with boarders struggles to gain money with various schemes while their daughter is courted.

Larry (Russell Gleason) calls Alice Austin (Dorothy Lee); but her mother Sarah Austin (Edna May Oliver) warns her about him. Phelps (Robert Emmett Keane) pays the rent with a $20 bill. Bill Hepburn (John Harran) calls, and Sarah invites him to come see Alice. Sarah tells her husband Joe Austin (Hugh Herbert) to collect rent from artist Vincentini (George Davis). Hepburn arrives with a gift for Sarah and asks Alice to ride in his car. Joe advises Vincentini on his paintings and offers to help sell them. Sarah tells Larry that Alice went out. Larry shows Joe his tire whistle invention; Joe offers to promote it and gives Larry a contract for half. Larry finds Alice with Hepburn and gets jealous. Alice demands Larry apologize, and he leaves.

Joe takes the paintings and leaves them to be framed. Joe calls on oil-man Phelps, who urges him to invest. Joe finds Vincentini packing but says he sold a painting and gives him $20 for his board bill. Vincentini pays Sarah. Joe gives Phelps money. Sarah discovers her stash of money is gone and calls the police. Flannery arrives and listens to ignorant Joe criticize police. Sarah brings in Vincentini, and Flannery questions him. Joe admits he took the money and tells Sarah he invested in oil. She slaps him but apologizes.

Joe tries to find work and is advised against wild-cat oil by financier Pennypacker. His chauffeur George gives Joe a ride. Hepburn and two men stop the car for a robbery, but Hepburn sees it is only Joe. At a party Hepburn asks Alice to go to New York. George identifies Hepburn, and he is arrested. Joe brags at home about his heroics against burglars. Joe reluctantly takes work digging a ditch. Phelps tells Sarah and Alice that oil was struck. Joe drags in and is shown the paper. Joe, Sarah, and Alice travel on a train, using borrowed money. A high society reception is held for them, and Sarah meets a count, who sneaks her liquor. Joe shows his golf swing and breaks a vase. Sarah gets drunk. Joe explains the tire invention. Sarah and Joe dance to "Pop! Goes the Weasel," and others join in. Joe gets a telegram that funds are low, and they return home. Vincentini says he is selling his paintings of cows to a dairy man and has paid the bills. Larry calls on Alice. Joe gets a telegram, and Larry figures how much his invention is now worth as Joe faints.

This Depression comedy reflects wild schemes people imagine for making money in a very difficult economy in which everyone seems to be trying to get money from others, but few have any to spend.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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