Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Passionate Plumber (1932)


“Can’t you see how much I love you?”

            In the early 1930s Buster Keaton signed a contract with MGM. It was probably one of the worst decisions he ever made in his life. Instead of making the kind of films he had been in the silent era where he had some control he was making what MGM dictated he should make. Many film critics will say Keaton’s films from this period are not his best. I had the opportunity to see one of Keaton’s talking MGM films entitled The Passionate Plumber and although it is not one of his best films it is still very funny and very silly.
            A chauffer named McCraken is sent to look for a plumber by his employer. He meets Elmer who is an inventor as well as plumber.
            Patricia, McCraken’s employer, is upset because her lover Tony is married but keeps chasing after her. Tony shows up looking for Patricia.
            Elmer tells McCraken to wait downstairs on standby to turn the water on when he sends a signal to do so. McCraken thinks he hears Elmer’s signal and turns on the water and poor Elmer gets completely soaked. Tony hears Elmer in the bathroom. He opens the door to Elmer in a towel. Tony thinks Elmer is the other man and challenges him to a duel (*the film takes place in France*). During the duel Elmer keeps messing up the whole thing up. He follows Tony instead of walking away from him and keeps tripping. Eventually the duel does not wind up happening because of both Elmer’s clumsiness and a hunter scaring everyone away.
            Elmer has created a gun and he wants to show it to a general. McCraken takes Elmer to a casino to meet the general and show him the gun. Elmer’s gun accidentally goes off and he is not in the right clothes to enter the casino. At first Elmer cannot find the right clothes but he winds up finding a suit after some time. When he gets into the casino he makes a mess of things and accidentally sets the gun off again. As he was walking away Elmer passes Patricia who was being asked by Tony who the other man was. She grabs Elmer and kisses him to make Tony jealous.
            Throughout the rest of the night Elmer keeps taking out his gun at the wrong time. He has to make a quick exit. He finds a car outside, takes it and crashes it. Turns out the car belonged to Patricia and it was really expensive there is no he can fully pay her back. Patricia comes up with the idea for Elmer to pretend to be her lover to come between her and Tony. When they arrive back at her place Tony comes and says he wants to take her away. Elmer comes in. She is mad at him for telling her what she had told him to.
            The following day Elmer is at her house. He will not go away and Patricia is angry. He follows her all over the place. Tony comes around and Elmer is there between them in her pajamas. Tony is furious. She tries to get Elmer to tell him about the contract but he will not say anything. Tony storms out.
            Patricia’s Aunt Charlotte comes to the house. She saw a man’s shadow in the bathroom and comes in to see what is going on. Elmer pretends to be a doctor. As Elmer plays pretend Patricia manages to sneak away.
            Elmer gets Tony to come to the house. It turns out Tony has a Spanish lover and Elmer found out and invited the Spanish woman to come over to see Tony. Patricia comes back and sees the other woman there. The two women argue for a bit but then they realize that Tony was lying to both of them about being married. When Tony comes in Patricia and the Spanish woman gang up on him and throw things at him.
            After all the throwing has ceased Patricia tells Elmer she loves him.

            My review and summary of the plot does nothing it is poor compared to how The Passionate Plumber really is. I was laughing in a lot of the scenes especially the duel scene and when Buster Keaton has his towel on then takes it off and slaps Tony! It was weird hearing Keaton speak and to see him smile in some scenes! I liked The Passionate Plumber even though it was not one of Keaton’s best films. It was cute and sweet and hysterical.