» » Business and Pleasure (1932)

Short summary

On a Mediterranean cruise, Earl Tinker, a manufacturer of razor blades, is the target of a femme fatale in the pay of a business rival, and he becomes embroiled in a feud between two Arab tribes.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Thiama
    As this was my first Will Rogers experience, I had no expectations beyond those which David Butler's credit as director aroused.

    Mr. Butler had amazed me with an astonishing opening shot for his "Sunny Side Up" (1929). In that film, as the credits faded, I recalled his camera floating over a crowded tenement street as vignettes of life unfolded before it. The all seeing eye rose to peek into window after window, down both sides of the street and all in one take! What my anticipation received was a storm tossed ocean liner with an unpleasant series of seasick passengers. [Joel McCrea fan alert: his thankless role goes downhill from here, if that's possible]. Rogers' character is introduced to negative reactions from all involved; he's not seasick. Perhaps David Butler realized how bad the rest of "Sunny Side Up" looked after the socko opening and lowered expectations here. In either case, first views establish mood. This reel was hard to shake off, but the effort is worthwhile.

    Reel 2: Will plays Earl Tinker, a leading razor blade manufacturer who graces each package with his goofy visage. Be alert for the Three Stooges foil Vernon Dent doing a falsetto voice. Joel McCrea's on hand to bring on the romantics. A winsome Peggy Ross playing Tinker's daughter is towered over by him, and I'm surprised he never steps on her. The viewer will be further challenged to suspend logic as the plot requires you to believe that Tinker is headed into the desert to buy the secret to making Damascus Steel. Now, if you think about it, you'll probably wonder, how is steel making going on among these sand dunes? And this Damascus Steel is the world's finest. So don't think about it, the film makers didn't. After all, Booth Tarkington's novel probably explained it better and this is watered down from a play adapted from the book "The Plutocrat". Jetta Goudal lurks effectively and proves herself to be a worthy villain. As Madame Mamora, she'll spy on Tinker for his competitor and "foresee" anything that comes between Tinker and his Damascus Steel. Her crystal ball sets up a hilarious Rogers impersonation.

    Boris Karloff menaces in the final reel in another of his pre-Frankenstein cameos. He's most believable as the tribal chief until Mr. Karloff calls for his camel and horses show up. It's all great fun though, and after all, this was a more innocent time. Key plot phrase: "the magic box (radio) never lies".
  • comment
    • Author: Lailace
    The whole movie is just a great farce. You have Will Rogers as American razor blade magnate Earl Tinker in search of the world's finest steel in a place that virtually has none - the Middle East. He's sailing across the ocean to talk to the tribes that make the steel, but he wants his competitors in the razor blade business to think this is a pleasure trip. Dorothy Peterson is his justifiably suspicious wife and Peggy Ross is his daughter. In a throwaway but amusing role, considering how things turned out, you have Joel McCrea as a whiny failed stuck-up playwright who eventually courts Earl's daughter and actually plays a big part in saving the day. Jetta Goudal plays the femme fatale who pretends to have an eye for Earl but actually works for his competitor and just wants to know what his business plans are. Earl loves his wife but he's flattered such a mysterious lady seems to have an interest in him.

    Towards the end of the film you get to see Boris Karloff as a sheik. He made this after Frankenstein but before his other Universal horror films.

    Although the part of plutocrat would seem an odd role for Rogers, he still inserts much of his homespun humor, including a bit on the radio in which he gets a few zingers in at Congress. It's one of the few Will Rogers films that Fox never put on DVD, probably because it is such an odd role for Will Rogers. I'd definitely recommend this one if it ever comes your way.
  • comment
    • Author: DABY
    1932's "Business and Pleasure" to this day remains one of Will Rogers' least seen efforts, and it's easy to see why; he's virtually on his own as a razor blade magnate on his way to the Middle East to buy the secrets of Damascus steel so as to conquer all competition. Working on behalf of the rival Straightback company is an exotic femme fatale, played by Dutch-born silent star Jetta Goudal, whose French accent did not lend well to talkies (in fact, this would be her last film). The best scene has Rogers impersonating a crystal gazer, complete with whiskers, to fool both Jetta and his wife (Dorothy Peterson, who made a career out of long suffering spouses). His daughter was pretty Peggy Ross, in her second and final screen appearance, romanced by a young Joel McCrea, about 17 films behind him, just on the cusp of stardom. The opening half hour is truly frustrating aboard ship, recovering nicely on land, with the unexpected appearance (for the last 15 minutes) of an uncredited Boris Karloff as Sheik Ali Ben Joseph, who would prefer to behead Rogers rather than negotiate over money. Karloff continued his varied supporting career for six months following the completion of "Frankenstein," and this proved to be the last not to offer him on-screen billing, though his name is prominently featured on the posters (he shortly reunited with Dorothy Peterson in "Night World," while director David Butler later did the same on 1940's "You'll Find Out"). Boris would return to Fox only once more, for 1936's "Charlie Chan at the Opera."
  • Complete credited cast:
    Will Rogers Will Rogers - Earl Tinker
    Jetta Goudal Jetta Goudal - Madame Momora
    Joel McCrea Joel McCrea - Lawrence Ogle
    Dorothy Peterson Dorothy Peterson - Mrs. Jane Olsen Tinker
    Peggy Ross Peggy Ross - Olivia Tinker
    Cyril Ring Cyril Ring - Arthur Jones
    Jed Prouty Jed Prouty - Ben Wackstle
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