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What! No Beer?

(1933 b 65')

En: 5 Ed: 4

Two men start a beer business after Prohibition is voted out; but alcohol is still illegal, and they get into trouble with gangsters.

Taxidermist Elmer Butts (Buster Keaton) attends a dry meeting and sits next to Hortense (Phyllis Barry). He says he wants liquor and is dragged out. Jimmy Potts (Jimmy Durante) asks Elmer to stuff a fish and tells him to vote for beer. Elmer disrupts the voting booths. The amendment passes, repealing Prohibition. Barber Jimmy tells Elmer they could sell beer. Elmer has $10,000 and wants to buy Hortense a Rolls. Jimmy and Elmer buy a foreclosed brewery. They find three bums there but hire them. Jimmy tells Elmer what ingredients to use. The foam overflows. They advertise real beer for 5¢ and are arrested; but the chemist finds no alcohol. Schultz (Roscoe Ates) can make beer, and Elmer wants money to get married.

Butch Lorado (John Miljan) calls on Spike Moran (Edward Brophy), because someone is selling beer cheap. Spike offers Elmer $50,000 for half his business and gives him $10,000 for a thousand barrels a day. Elmer tells Schultz they need more beer and hires fifty men. Elmer gives Jimmy the $10,000. On the street Hortense hurts her ankle, and Elmer carries her inside. He spills water on her, and she takes off her dress. Hortense learns that Spike is Elmer's partner and leaves in Jimmy's coat. Jimmy tells Elmer the $10,000 is in his coat. Jealous Lorado sees Hortense without her dress and finds the money. Elmer calls Hortense and tells her to buy a Rolls with the money. He drives a truck with the barrels. On a hill the barrels get loose and roll down. In a park Hortense reads of a gang war and leaves Elmer. Jimmy learns that Spike was wiped out and celebrates; but Lorado orders him to make beer. Hortense learns of a raid and gives Elmer a note. Elmer hides in a barrel until it breaks. He drives with a sign for free beer at the brewery. A crowd follows, and they drink the evidence. Police arrive but find no beer. Finally beer is legalized. The Butts Beer Garden is dedicated by Jimmy and Elmer with Hortense, and they lose their pants.

This farce celebrates the repeal of Prohibition, satirizing the ending of the bootlegging industry that fostered gangsters.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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