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  • A Texas cowboy with funds to invest arrives in New York City. Just how long will it take for THE TENDERFOOT and his money to be parted?

    Comic Joe E. Brown has a wonderful time, striding about Manhattan in a ten-gallon hat & boots, packing a pair of six-shooters and carrying a lasso. No hick he, shysters of both sexes find he's not an easy mark--until he's taken in by a couple of desperate play producers who want to unload 49% of their latest flop. Brown is a constant wide-mouthed delight, whether roping his luggage at Grand Central Terminal, trying to be neighborly to a bunch of chorus boy cowboys, or galloping after a group of taxi-driven gangsters on a busy New York street, he makes this rather naughty Pre-Code comedy boil.

    Perky Ginger Rogers scores as a secretary honest enough to want to protect Joe and his money. Lew Cody & Robert Greig ooze false charm as the producers (Greig even looks a little like the great Mostel) and brassy Vivien Oakland stirs things up a bit as the play's spoiled star.

    Movie mavens will recognize Herman Bing as an opinionated chef, Nat Pendleton as a jealous husband and Richard Cramer as a gangster, all three uncredited.

    The last few seconds of the film, involving some very peculiar triplets, is hilarious.
  • "The Tenderfoot" is from the days just before the Hollywood Production Code became strictly enforced in 1932. Primarily family fare, a few words and themes are slipped in that would become taboo within a few months and for decades to come. None of these should preclude a family audience today.

    Examples include a cowboy, who upon arriving in NYC, spots a group of men in cowboy suits who turn out to be obviously gay chorus boys. Later in the film, he malaprops "ejaculation," instead of "salutations!" Yes, there's plenty of innuendo--much of it sophisticated and/or subtle, but nothing that isn't heard (ahem, recycled) on U.S. network primetime/family television today.

    Ginger Rogers appears as Brown's feisty love interest, but don't expect her to sing, dance or wear ostrich feathers. Still, she's charming and more interesting here than in her Oscar-winning role in 1940's "Kitty Foyle."

    Joe E. Brown, who is probably best remembered today for his turn as Osgood Fielding III in "Some Like It Hot," plays the cowboy broadly. Still, he's much more palatable than in other frequently seen performances (reference Flute in 1935's "A Midsummer Night's Dream).

    In addition to the historical interest, the film is an enjoyable and well produced piece of fluff. The short 70-minute run time seems even shorter to me. Hope you enjoy it!
  • utgard1414 January 2014
    Joe E. Brown stars as a cowboy duped into financing a Broadway show. Ginger Rogers is the city girl who tries to help him. How much you'll like this depends on how you feel about Joe E. Brown. His comedy is basically all rubberfacing and a silly voice. I'm not big on Brown and this did little to change my opinion of him. However, it's one of his less obnoxious movies. When he's playing straight instead of doing shtick, he's affable and pleasant to watch. I am a fan of Ginger Rogers and it's always good to see a movie of hers I haven't seen before. This is early Ginger but she's still the best part of the movie. It's a pretty forgettable film but if you're a fan of Brown's you will probably enjoy it a little more.
  • One of many comedies made by Joe E. Brown for Warner Brothers/First National during the thirties, The Tenderfoot lacks much of the physical stunt work that features in many of the athletic Brown's films but compensates with a cleverer than usual plot that apparently originated in a Kaufman play, The Butter and Egg Man. The idea of producing a play so bad that it's taken as satirical and becomes an unexpected hit would reach fruition in The Producers. The Tenderfoot is not quite up to that deliriously brilliant work, however.

    One problem is that, while the best scene in the whole picture is Brown explaining to a prospective investor, i.e., the latest sucker, the plot of this 'masterpiece', which turns out to be a rural melodrama old hat by 1914 or so, we never actually see it presented on the stage. I guess the budget wouldn't allow for it. An early and hilarious musical number is obviously lifted from some other film which may be a hint as to the constraints under which director Ray Enright was working.

    Simple comedies such as this live or die on their performers. Brown is in fine form as the unlikely Texas cowboy come to the city to make his fortune. He's supported nicely by Ray Cody as a sleazy producer looking for funds and by the young Ginger Rogers playing Cody's secretary and Brown's love interest in an unusually fiery role for those functions. Ginger is also the recipient of a couple of the nicest closeups that she would ever receive courtesy of cinematographer Greg Toland no less, famous for his later work on Citizen Kane among other masterpieces. The Tenderfoot is no masterpiece, but it does have its moments.
  • "Whoooooopie!" ... I caught this movie for the first time on TCM early this morning and found it somewhat entertaining. Not ROFLOL slap-stick, or vaudevillian in the class of the Three Stooges or even Laurel and Hardy but that which was in it for innocent amusement. What did somewhat crack me up was when he was informed that the only costumes they had were that of Shakespeare and nothing associated or fitting the Broadway play they were performing - I believe it was a western. Yet there were some moments to suggest that I was in 1932. For one, in the restaurant the menu contained Kosher items and the comment made about a "tribe," and on the Brown's hat band, swastikas with some other symbols were briefly shown. Not really sure what that was all about but it reminded me a bit of when the Three Stooges poked fun at the threat in Europe that was emerging at the time. Nevertheless it was a fun movie and to see a young Ginger Rogers was well worth it. I'm certainly glad to have experienced it and the script alone was worth commendation. It wasn't great but it was fair.
  • Comedian Brown gets a showcase here. As a swaggering wealthy Texan, he visits New York where he gets involved with con men using a Broadway show to fleece him. Good thing Rogers is on hand to help him out. Generally, the movie gets better as it goes along, even though Brown's style of humor is mainly a matter of taste. The first part has him practically yelling his lines and mugging it up mercilessly as he establishes his rustic character. Frankly, I found much of this annoying. But as the plot takes over, his character settles down some, but without losing his comedic shtick. Sorry to say, Rogers is largely wasted as the assertive secretary, but it's still early in her illustrious career. There's one scene that's a real grabber, coming near the end. Brown's on a horse chasing the baddies in a car down a city street. But it's a real city street not a backlot set. There's a lot of weaving back and forth, the car even going down a city sidewalk. I'm surprised any LA jurisdiction would let them take liberties like that. Still, it's a grabber in what's otherwise a fairly static story. All in all, the movie should please fans of the big-mouth funny man; for others, it's mainly a matter of taste.
  • MartinHafer22 January 2014
    Joe E. Brown plays the main character, Calvin Jones. Jones is in New York City straight from the middle of no where in Texas. Now this is a severe problem, as Jones is very naive about big city ways. So, it's not at all surprising when some producers of a play without backing convince Jones to buy half the show. The problem is that the show is a bomb and Jones is just too ignorant to know it. He's also too ignorant to know that his co-producer, Mr. Lehman, is a crook and his secretary (Ginger Rogers) film-flammed him into investing in the cursed project.

    While the idea for the film isn't bad, one thing is very bad--Brown's performance. Subtle he ain't. In fact, he walks about like he's a 6 year-old trying to PRETEND to be a cowboy and his dialog is pretty cheesy. While I've seen quite a few of Brown's other films, this one is among the very worst--all due to his awful character.

    Now this isn't to say the film is all bad. It does have some nice moments--such as when Calvin tells a prospective backer the plot (the reactions are pretty funny) as well as the opening dance number (it's one of the strangest in history...complete with robots!). Overall, I'd say that the bad does outweigh the good just a bit.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In his Warner Brothers comedies of the 1930's, Joe E. Brown is a hit or miss comic, perhaps more a product of his time than a funny faced rubber legged clown who could make many audiences laugh today. For two of his 1932 movies, Brown got future dancing legend and Oscar winner Ginger Rogers as his leading lady, and back to back, the two films (this and "You Said a Mouthful!") are of very different quality. "The Tenderfoot", another variation of George S. Kaufman's play, is the second film version (out of six), and is at times, hard to get through.

    Brown is a Texas blowhard, arriving in Manhattan like the Calvary at Custer's last stand, ill advisedly announcing that he has $20,000 on him which he needs to find a reputable bank to deposit it in. Con-artist Broadway producer Lew Cody overhears and entertains him with a "Follies" matinee (no mention of it being "Ziegfeld's") to entice him into investing in his melodrama which needs a ton of work before it is ready for production. But Brown's 49% gives him no say over Cody's 51%, and Brown naively buys Cody out, discovering that he has a major flop to be on his hands. He also has a very temperamental leading lady past her prime (a rather portly Vivien Oakland) and no sets or costumes, and after the play becomes a surprise hit due to secretary Ginger Rogers taking over the part, Brown must deal with kidnappers who try to force Brown to purchase benefit tickets at an extremely high mark-up.

    Not only is the plot preposterous, but what is attempted at comedy just doesn't really come off as funny. There are a few amusing parts that prevent this from being a total disaster, like Brown basically repeating Cody's speech while Rogers dramatically plays the piano, describing the play to hotel manager Spencer Charters to get him to invest, just as Cody had done with him. This time, Brown retains the 51% so he can have a say, showing that there's some sense in his Texas hick character. The last 10 minutes of the film involving the racketeers trying to pick his pockets really come out of nowhere, adding a last bit of conflict in the film (the kidnapping of Rogers' character) that has no real point. Then, there's a Texas set finale which has an often repeated gag from Brown's films, utilized even into the 40's when he worked at low budget Republic studios. Brown really needed to tone down his overly bravado characterization, because that didn't really make me root for him. Rogers comes off better, as do several of the horses which make sudden appearances to show Brown's riding skills, or at least his hick character's.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Cinematic comedian Joe E. Brown chews the scenery with relish in director Ray Enright's Hollywood Pre-Code comedy "The Tenderfoot" as a Texan with a wide stride who arrives in New York City to make a mint in show business. This lightweight romp about a fish-out-of-water is amusing primarily because Brown plays the part with such gusto. Initially, our unwitting hero manages to avoid several hucksters at Grand Central Station where he lassos his luggage, catches a ride with a Hebrew fellow driving a horse-drawn wagon, and then hilariously mistakes a group of gay chorus boys decked out in Stetsons and chaps for his own native cowpunchers. This brief scene is probably the most risqué bit in this farce. Afterward, he plays into the hands of a pair of four-flushing Broadway producers who don't have a scruple between them. Producers Joe Lehman (Lew Cody of "Three Rogues") and Mack McLure (Robert Greig of "Animal Crackers") persuade cattleman Calvin Jones (Joe E. Brown) from Beeseville, Texas, to part with his life savings, approximately $25,000, to produce a dud called "Her Golden Sin" that is destined to fail. The two impecunious producers pursue Jones after they learn that he is looking for a bank to stash his cash. They overwhelm him with dreams of millions and sell him on a western show that they need him for since he can provide technical savvy. Foolishly enough, Calvin falls for their line and shells out his loot, while Lehman's receptionist Ruth Weston (Ginger Rogers of "Flying Down to Rio") stands by and watches her bosses fleece this poor lamb. Of course, "Her Golden Sin" opens in Syracuse, and Calvin doesn't realize that it has flopped. Behind his back, one woman who saw it says "if they take it to New York, they'll have to embalm it."

    Meantime, Calvin has fallen hopelessly in love with Ruth who thinks it's a dirty shame what Lehman and McLure have pulled on him. After Ruth reveals to Calvin how badly that he has been duped, he behaves like an idiot and agrees to buy out Joe and Mack, but he doesn't have enough cash to complete the deal until another unsuspecting rube, Oscar (Spencer Charters), who knows nothing about Broadway decides to ante up $5000 and become an associate producer. No sooner do things look propitious for Calvin and Oscar than they discover that they have no costumes. Ruth stumbles onto a wardrobe horde of Shakespearean costumes, and Calvin decides to use them anyway because he is desperate. "People will think you're crazy," Ruth tells him. "Well, I'd rather open with costumes and let them think I'm crazy than open without them and have them know it." When Calvin's leading lady (Vivien Oakland) bails at the last minute because she abhors the travesty that she is about to be a part of, Calvin replaces her with Ruth who knows the part perfectly. In a complete reversal, "Her Sin" opens, and Variety reports that "a hard-boiled Broadway audience" rollicked "in the aisles with its brilliant satire and delightful burlesque." Another critic rhapsodizes that "Mr. Jones proves himself a craftsman of satire—satire that will rock the theatrical world."

    Afterward, Calvin refuses to pay racketeer Lefty Duran the outrageous price of $500 for tickets for a benefit, so he abducts Ruth for ransom. Calvin puts on his Stetson, packs his Colt .45 six-guns, and heads off to rescue Ruth. Duran and his henchmen think that they have the advantage over Calvin. Calvin gets the drop on Duran and company. "I just want to warn you when you stack cards with me you are messing with the best shot in Rawhide County, Texas." When Calvin makes his exit, he backs into a closet and the racketeers knock him unconscious and lock him up in the kitchen. Calvin rides the dumbwaiter. An interesting subplot has a jealous blue-collar wage earner Joe (Nat Pendleton) mistaking Calvin as his wife's illicit lover. Joe blasts away at Calvin with two revolvers and the bullets penetrate the door and stop Duran's thugs in their tracks. Calvin recovers his guns and pursues the hoodlums on horseback. Calvin catches each of them with his sharp-shooting shenanigans. Later, back in Beeseville, he stages the same play, but he is married to Ruth with triplets. In a clever ending, the triplets are each Joe E. Brown.

    Joe E. Brown was the 1930s version of Jim Carrey with his elastic face, cherubic smile, and a personality. Ostensibly, "The Tenderfoot" was adapted from George S. Kaufman's play "The Butter and Egg Man." Although it isn't insanely funny, "The Tenderfoot" has enough laughs to sustain it throughout its 75 minutes.