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Beer on DVD  no40

What! No Beer?

Following on from the review of Prohibition in Edition 54, hereís the last film Buster Keaton made for MGM at the lowest point in his film career when illicit alcohol actually had him on the skids. Elmer Butts (Keaton) is a taxidermist and his pal the irrepressibly garrulous Jimmy Potts (Durante) is a barber. Itís time for America to vote for the end of prohibition, and the boys reckon they can make a fortune by being the first brewing company to get back into production. A couple of problems (a) they get entangled with the mobsters whose bootlegging operations have been doing rather well out of Prohibition, and (b) they jump the gun before the repeal is actually in place firstly getting off because what the police confiscate has no alcohol in it, and a second time they announce to all the townsfolk that thereís free beer at the brewery and the entire brewlength gets supped up before the police arrive.  There are priceless moments like in the scene where they collect Keatonís savings from where theyíre stuffed into various animals, Schnozzle Durante eyes up a stuffed toucan and thinks better of it. Thereís a brewery dray shedding its load of casks on a hillóthe same gag as in the Three Stoogesí Three Little Beers.  Itís surprising how near the knuckle films were allowed to get back then and it was only in 1934 that after threats of Catholic boycott, the US censors were given teeth. When the film talks about Real Beer, this is to distinguish from 0.5% Near Beer, allowed during those dry years. The dvd which is Region 1 can be had from amazon.co.uk and is produced to order for around £10. You can get it as a download from torrentbutler.eu or view it on YouTube in 5 parts. Great? - no, but historically significant.

 printed in O-to-K  in 2013 text ©RKW 2013