What! No Beer? 1933 NR CC

Amazon Instant Video

(11) IMDb 5.5/10

Two of comedy's greatest masters appear together in this effervescent and irreverent slapstick about a couple of regular guys trying to cash in on the end of Prohibition.

Starring:
Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante
Runtime:
1 hour, 6 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Comedy
Director Edward Sedgwick
Starring Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante
Supporting actors Roscoe Ates, Phyllis Barry, John Miljan, Henry Armetta, Edward Brophy, Charles Dunbar, Charles Giblyn, Sidney Bracey, Eddy Chandler, James Donlan, Billy Engle, Sherry Hall, Pat Harmon, George Irving, Al Jackson, Wilbur Mack, Broderick O'Farrell, Lee Phelps
Studio MGM
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

I was surprised to see that such good quality sound existed in 1932.
Cheated
The physical humour is watered down, but occasionally this works to the advantage of the comedy.
frankebe
This film is not as bad as all the critics and biographers would have you believe.
Robert Badgley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Cheated on June 17, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
What! No Beer? plots Keaton and Durante trying out a beer selling biz starting the day after beer is voted legalized following prohibition. Figuring that the masses will be starved for legalized beer after waiting 13 years, these guys would be the first to sell it again and become millionaires overnight. They get involved with 2 bootleggers who are paranoid about losing their shirts because of the new legislation and a mess involving gangsters and bullets continues throughout the picture. Buster plays his typical babe-in-the-woods character, Elmer.
The old brewery they use looks like a grounded UFO in an Area 51 room. I kept expecting Ming the Merciless to creep out the hatch. Instead the boys are overwhelmed by near-beer suds that flood the room in a pretty good choatic scene that's one of the highlights of the picture.
What! No Beer? was filmed during the worst period of Buster's life, mainly because of his battle with alcoholism. The problem is obvious in a few scenes. One in particular is a scene of Keaton and Durante handcuffed together. Buster looks dazed, puffy and sick. The scene continues with Durante talking to Bus in a normal-sounding voice (the only time in the picture he isn't screaming) as he carries on a sympathetic conversation with Bus, who definitely sounds like he'd been drinking beforehand. A minute later, the scene continues where Buster further slurs his lines.
This film was made at the end of 1932 and was a big hit for MGM. The print on this VHS edition is excellent. I was surprised to see that such good quality sound existed in 1932. Film critics, historians and Buster are hard on this picture because they compare it to his silent classics instead of accepting it for what it was, a sound comedy with lots of talk and chaos.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By frankebe on November 19, 2011
Format: DVD
The film image is very good. It is clear, with a broad range of graytones, the details of the image is good, and the sound is good (it is 1933, remember). It seems amazing such a film has been so well preserved. They did not go back to the negative to do any scratch-removal treatment, so there is some white dust floating around, but I didn't really notice it much except during fade-outs. So, four and a half stars for the quality of the film on the dvd. The movie itself is a different matter... More like 3 stars, for an overall 4-star rating:

I did not originally look at this film as a "Keaton" film, so I did not experience the deep disappointment expressed by some writers about this film. Rather, I sought this out as a Jimmy Durante movie. Some of us LIKE Jimmy Durante. He isn't a stuntmeister and he isn't much of a dancer, but his energy and timing are exceptional, and his ability to suddenly flail about then stop abruptly is pantomimic. I love his cartoonish look, his voice, and find his throwaway Malapropisms hilarious. He has theatrical charisma, and he was an original. I love to watch him go nuts, and there is plenty of Durante going nuts in this film.

The problem has always been to find a "Jimmy Durante movie" that really shows him off. A "good" Jimmy Durante movie (heh)... Hollywood never knew how to use Durante as a leading comic. Too bad he wasn't a story writer himself or had his own throttle of sympathetic gagmen like Harry Langdon had, or Harold Lloyd. (Of course at MGM, this wouldn't matter; Keaton did have a core group of creative talent before it was dismantled by his new employers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Randy E. Halford on October 20, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Reunited with co-star Jimmy Durante and comedy director Edward Sedgwick, "What! No Beer?" was really not a bad picture for the great Buster Keaton to exit on at MGM. Playing yet another "Elmer" (MGM must've thought Keaton looked like an Elmer), Keaton is a taxidermist who gets talked into investing in a brewery & thus, being first in line to satisfy the demand once Prohibition ends by his barber friend (Durante). But their manufacturing of "real beer" jumps the gun, and they first run afoul of the law, then get caught in the middle of a gang war struggle to take over their brewery. There's some side silliness when Keaton becomes infatuated with one of the gangster's moll. For whatever reason, Durante is particularly loud & annoying in this picture, his rantings making you appreciate the measured subtlety of Keaton, who takes some of the most spectacular pratfalls that most comics wouldn't do on a pile of marshmallows.
WNB is at least as frothy & fun as the brew it creates. The brewery scene is hilariously messy; Keaton dodging a truckload of barrels is a welcome tribute to his climactic boulder-dodging scene in "Seven Chances", capped by a sight-gag marathon; and getting half the town to flock to the brewery to drink all the "evidence" is a clever solution to the story. Durante steals the closing gag as he holds up a mug of beer, beams to the camera & says "It won't be long now, folks!" The End.
The one flaw in the picture is Keaton's pale physical appearance; reportedly, his alcoholism was especially excessive during filming. Thus, there are moments where either deep lines are etched in his face, or he looks slightly puffy & drawn-out. Yet, Keaton was still good, simply because he's Keaton, a master of timing.
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