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It's Tough To Be Famous

(1932 b 79')

En: 5 Ed: 5

A submarine captain becomes a hero; but the adulation, publicity, and exploitation of his fame upset his private life.

Hit by an excursion boat, a submarine is stuck on the bottom under eighty feet of water. Captain Scotty McClenahan (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) sends men out the torpedo tube one at a time. Stevens (David Landau) tells McClenahan not to be last and die; but he knocks out Stevens and sends him out. McClenahan passes out but is rescued by divers. McClenahan is promoted even though he resigned and is treated as a hero. He greets his mother and Janet (Mary Brian); but magazine publisher Joseph Greg Chapin (Walter Catlett) parades him in his car and manages his business, showing him his bad publicity. McClenahan rejects a speech written for him, then gives it. A song about him is performed, and he endorses a car.

McClenahan leaves a party at home to visit Janet. He falls asleep on her lap until 3 a.m. A tabloid reporter wants to report his engagement to Janet, and he says okay; but she complains he didn't ask her. Scotty tells her he loves her, and they get married. They tickle each other on their honeymoon. They see a newsreel showing McClenahan going to work for the gyroscope company of S. J. Boynton (Oscar Apfel), and they leave the theater. McClenahan gets $80,000 a year to impress customers but does little work. Chapin calls him to welcome the Brazilian flyers. Scotty argues with Janet about photographers and then calls Chapin to cancel. After drinking, McClenahan tells a reporter he has no interest in Brazil. Boynton says that will cost him $500,000; but Chapin makes McClenahan fly to Los Angeles for a banquet and speaking tour.

McClenahan comes home, publicized as the ideal husband in the Chapin magazine. He asks Janet why she wrote about him and complains; they argue, and he walks out. When he returns with roses, he learns that Janet packed and left. Boynton and Chapin tell McClenahan that a new hero saved a dog and suggest that he take a submarine up the Amazon. McClenahan says he lost his wife and everything, and he quits. He meets Janet by a lake, and she suggests being pals while living separately without lovemaking. Scotty agrees, because he loves her. At a nightclub he asks Janet to make up her mind about being his wife, but she puts him off and then cries. Scotty is about to leave for the submarine when she calls and suggests getting together. In their car McClenahan saves another car from being hit by a train. They call him a hero; but he and Janet take off.

This modern story shows the pitfalls of being a sudden celebrity. McClenahan is not prepared for fame and has trouble adjusting.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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