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Speak Easily

16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A naive college professor (Buster Keaton) mistakenly believes he has inherited a fortune in this madcap classic.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante, Ruth Selwyn, Thelma Todd, Hedda Hopper
  • Directors: Edward Sedgwick
  • Writers: Clarence Budington Kelland, Laurence E. Johnson, Ralph Spence
  • Producers: Buster Keaton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alpha Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 2004
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00022LJ56
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,152 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Speak Easily" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Alex Udvary on July 20, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Boy! Am I in the minority opinion here or what?

I have often heard the complaints that when Buster started making sound pictures and signed with MGM his career was over. And I even believe Buster made remarks to that effect as well. But, I don't know, I don't mind Buster's sound pictures. Granted I have only seen a few of them, I think of them as light diversions. I also don't mind the films Laurel & Hardy made in the 40s.

"Speak Easily" has Buster Keaton playing Professor Post, a lonely man who never gets a chance to go out and lead a social life. He has no friends, no love in his life and only his butler to tell his worries to. One day Buster finds out he has inherited 750,000. He sets off and plans to go out a live life. Do all the things he's always wanted to do.

"Speak Easily" works best in the early moments and then struggles trying to find the correct tone. Maybe this is because Keaton and Durante had such different comedy styles.

But I still don't think of this as a bad movie and wouldn't mind watching it again. It may not be as good as some of Buster's silent films such as "Sherlock, Jr.", "The General", and "Our Hospitality".

The movie was directed by Edward Sedgwick, who directed several of Keaton's later films starting with in order of preference; "The Cameraman", "Spite Marriage", "Doughboys", and "The Passionate Plumber" (Also with Durante), though I prefer "Plumber" over this movie.

But "Speak Easily" has some good slapstick moments, particulary at the end of the film. I also liked a scene between Keaton and Thelma Todd, as an actress trying to get into Buster's good graces.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on August 2, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Despite his personal troubles during the early 1930s, Buster Keaton reveals another dimension of his comic talent in "Speak Easily." He gives a splendid performance as Timolean Zanders Post, an isolated professor who believes he has inherited $750,000. With this mistaken financial security, he manages a struggling vaudeville troupe that he takes to Broadway. "Speak Easily" was the second MGM film to pair Keaton with Jimmy Durante. Though an unusual combination, they work remarkably well in this enjoyable musical-comedy — one of the few movies that displays Keaton's flair for verbal humor. The result is the best of Keaton's MGM talkies.
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Format: DVD
If you're a Keaton fan your eyeballs will not melt in their sockets if you watch this - it really is not bad. It would be a rather enjoyable early talkie if it were not for the fact that Buster Keaton's talents are being wasted in this film. Since I know that by this time (1932) MGM gave him no creative control and treated him just as a performer, I can only wonder what the film would have been like if someone had listened to his ideas. However, at least there are no moments in which you must look away in embarrassment at what MGM is doing to the man, as there are in Free and Easy.

The good:
a. Unlike Free and Easy (a real embarrassment of a film), Buster does get the girl in the end.
b. Buster shows a real penchant for dialogue and verbal comedy, demonstrating that he was not outside his element in talking pictures.
c. The seduction/morning after scenes with Buster and Thelma Todd. Todd gave the best supporting performance in the cast. What a shame she died so young.
d. The ending where Keaton disrupts the show but scores a hit with the audience. It's not the most clever stuff he ever did, but it is funny.

The bad:
a. Buster being made to play a straight man to Jimmy Durante.
b. Buster's expressive eyes being hidden behind his pince-nez spectacles.
c. Buster bungling into a happy ending. In his years as an independent filmmaker his character would often start out lost and fumbling around, but he figured things out in the end and came up with resourceful and deliberate solutions.

The ugly:
Why did this film need Buster Keaton anyway? Lots of comics less talented than Keaton could have been employed to recite the dialogue that was written for this script and take a few pratfalls.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brigalow on May 7, 2007
Format: DVD
Keaton made worst movies that this for MGM - Free and Easy is the one that springs to my mind. In saying that this is no masterpiece, far from it.

The storyline leads to what should be a funny movie and parts of this are, for instance the scene with Thelma Todd at the hotel room (BTW love that drinks cabinet) and the morning after. I also like the little bit at the beginning with the train. And I like the Theatre Scenes at the end of the movie.

But like nearly everyone here we all know what was to come after so we know that this is the beginning of the end for Keaton at MGM. Durante and Keaton are not a good mix, Cliff Edwards and Keaton would have been much better combination.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Georgette on November 13, 2011
Format: DVD
I really didn't mind "Speak Easily". As another reviewer mentioned, he is allowed to be seen as a intelligent person and his inexperience comes from the "Ivory Tower of Academia" which is more believable and doesn't show him to be such a loser as in other films. Also, in the film, he is not a victim, he offers to help the Theater company and they seem to really like him despite some of his oddities. Finally, FINALLY he is allowed to get the girl, which MGM seemed to think was not possible.
If Keaton had full control over this film, it would have been tighter, the physical humor less broad and no Jimmy Durante but all things considered, it's really not that bad which is about the best you can say about a MGM talkie.
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