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Elmer, the Great 1933
Description: Elmer does not wish to leave Gentryville, because Nellie is the one that he loves. Even when Mr. Wade of the Chicago Cubs comes to receive him, it is only because Nellie spurns him that he goes. As always, Elmer is the lord of batters and he wins minigame after game. When Nellie comes to see Elmer in Chicago, she sees him kissing Evelyn and she wants nothing to do with him anymore. So Healy takes him to a gambling club, where Elmer does not know that the chips are money. He finds that he owes the gamblers $5000 and they create him sign a note for it. Sad at losing Nellie, angry at his teammates and in debt to the gamblers, Elmer disappears as the Cubs are in the deciding minigame for the Series.
Released: 29 Apr 1933 Director: Mervyn LeRoy Writers: Ring Lardner (based on a play by), George M. Cohan (based on a play by), Thomas J. Geraghty (screen play) Actors: Joe E. Brown, Patricia Ellis, Frank McHugh, Claire Dodd Genres: Comedy, Romance, Sport
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Elmer, the Great Reviews:

ELMER, THE GREAT home run hitter doesn't wish to leave his cute boss in Gentryville, Indiana, to enjoy ball for the Chicago Cubs.Rubber-limbed comic Joe E. Brown scores large in this fine tiny comedy. Without even trying, the fellow should be funny - his large grin and mischievous eyes a sure catalyst for laughter. In his first scenes, the mere act of his putting on his socks or eating his breakfast is a riot. The movie also gives him a possibility to suffer from unrequited love and face the abuse heaped on him for his yokel methods as he tries to deal with professional ballplayers and risky gamblers. Brown carries it all off with natural aplomb.A sturdy cast lends fine support: cute Patricia Ellis as Brown's conflicted boss; sweet Emma Dunn as his loving mother; goofy Sterling Holloway, perfectly cast, as Brown's baseball-mad younger brother (notice that Holloway's name is spelled incorrectly in the credits). Blustery Berton Churchill plays the owner of the Cubs, Preston Foster is the manager. Genial Frank McHugh plays the Cubs catcher. Claire Dodd has a mysterious role; she seems to be a chum of the ballplayers and tiny else - but at least she's simple on the eyes and the plot doesn't test to set up a silly romance between her and Brown. Casino hoodlum J. Carrol Naish plays the film's villain.Movie mavens will recognize an uncredited Jessie Ralph as Brown's plain speaking, softhearted housekeeper.The early scenes in Gentryville have a delightfully homespun, nostalgic charm which the soon Chicago sequences can't match. Notice the fine test the minimal soundtrack makes of just two songs: ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game' & ‘On The Banks Of The Wabash.'Brown's test of a four-letter word near the film's climax underscores the film's pre-Code status. Also of interest, in the last inning of the final Globe Series game, the plot has the catcher & pitcher of the Fresh York Yankees deliberately and maliciously hack in an attempt to win. One wonders what Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig gotta have thought of that...ELMER, THE GREAT was the second of Brown's ‘baseball trilogy,' the another movies being FIREMAN, SAVE MY CHILD (1932) & ALIBI IKE (1935).


Just as Dizzy Dean was lifting baseball braggadocio to a fine art as a pitcher, Warner Brothers came out with one of Joe E. Brown's greatest comedies in Elmer the Great. In true life Joe E. Brown was a very large baseball fanatic and this movie along with his another baseball comedy, Alibi Ike, was a labor of love.In 1933 the Chicago Cubs were not yet a national joke, going 98 years without winning a Globe Series and 62 years without being in one. They fielded some very nice squads during the Thirties and Forties, but never quite should receive to the top. In 1932 the year before Elmer the Nice came out, they were in the Globe Series and were crushed by the selfsame Fresh York Yankees four straight minigames which featured Babe Ruth's popular 'called shot' home run.The Babe had nothing on Elmer Kane from Gentryville, Indiana who was not loath to allow one and all know exactly what his contribution to the Cubs was going to be. He fulfilled his promise though, hitting 67 home runs in his rookie season, leaving Babe Ruth's tag in the dust. No one accused him of taking steroids either. In fact in true life both Jimmy Foxx and Hank Greenberg made serious runs at Ruth's record with seasons of 58 homers every during the Thirties.But off the diamond, Joe is a true babe in the woods himself. He's caught between two girls, nice woman Patricia Ellis and terrible woman Claire Dodd. And the simpleton gets himself caught up in a gambling house where he drops $5000.00 to slick gambler Douglass Dumbrille. Of course with Brown's IOU in his pocket Dumbrille sees a possibility for a killing in Brown not testing on the square during the Globe Serious as Brown calls it.The last minigame of the Globe Serious is one of the funniest baseball sequences place on film. It was now shot at Wrigley Field, but Wrigley Field in Los Angeles which housed the minor league squad in the Pacific Coast League. Preston Foster plays the Cubs manager and Frank McHugh Brown's greatest mate on the team. It's a very great comedy for baseball fanatics and others and a nice possibility to become acquainted with the comedy of Joe E. Brown.


Joe E. Brown is largely forgotten today and it's too bad. He made a string of fine tiny movies for Warner Brothers in the early to mid 1930s. Ironically he has the final riotous line in the American Movie Institute's no. 1 comedy, from their 100 Best Comedies list, "Some Like It Hot". Regarding "Elmer the Great," this movie recaptures a unbelievable era in baseball as well as a nostalgic feel for tiny city America. Its storyline is said with the Warner Brothers' successful no frills approach to film making at that time. There is plenty of warm humor throughout especially from the everytime unbelievable Joe E. Brown as the cantankerous, egoist Elmer Kane, still likable in spite of these hero flaws. I want Joe E. Brown's WB films were accessible on DVD. A single packaged trilogy release should be made of his 3 baseball films: "Fireman Save My Child" (WB 1932), "Elmer the Great" (WB 1933) and "Alibi Ike" (WB 1935).



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