27 February 2010 | AlsExGal
A solid little Joe E. Brown comedy
This is neither the best or worst thing Joe E. Brown ever did. It was made during his "salad days" over at Warner Brothers/First National where he did his best talking picture work. Brown plays Joe Holt, a shipping clerk who invents an unsinkable bathing suit and dreams of better things as he is constantly hazed and disrespected by his fellow employees. He soon learns he has inherited the estate of a relative in California. However, all he winds up with is five dollars and a young ward, played by Farina of Our Gang fame. Joe's luck soon turns, though, when he is mistaken for a championship swimmer by the same name. Deathly afraid of water, our hero would have confessed the mix-up to his hosts immediately if it were not for two things - the good eats at his hosts' comfy estate and, more importantly, the attention of an attractive young lady, Alice (Ginger Rogers), who just adores good swimmers.
The film has some good Joe E. Brown moments in it, who in many ways had the kind of early talkie career that Buster Keaton could have had if he had not been tied to a studio that so misunderstood his potential (MGM). MGM's forte was drama not comedy, and certainly not physical comedy. Ginger Rogers is in a transitional role here, as she is playing someone who is splitting the difference between her earlier flapper persona and her more hardened chorine image in the Berkeley musicals. Farina does a good job as Joe's ward and the only real friend Joe has. Preston Foster, as Joe's rival for both the championship and Alice, bears a striking resemblance to Ralph Bellamy both physically and in how Bellamy played the cad in some of his earlier screen roles.
A good film from the precode era that doesn't have a precode moment in it, which is odd considering its stars.