High Pressure (1932)

Genres - Comedy  |   Run Time - 74 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Based on Abel Kandel's 1931 play Hot Money, this delightfully daffy comedy from Warner Bros. is a typical example of that studio's turbo-charged dialogue and irreverent attitude. William Powell, at the top of his game here, plays Gar Evans, the "world's foremost promoter," hired by Jewish entrepreneur Ginsberg (George Sidney) to boost a new discovery that may turn sewage into artificial rubber. Unfortunately, after Evans and his minions have talked untold suckers into buying stocks in the dubious venture, the inventor (Harry Beresford) goes missing. The good professor turns up eventually but proves to be quite demented and the entire scheme is about to fall apart when Evans, more or less at the seat of his pants, manages to sweet-talk himself into an even better deal. William Powell is a marvel in this comedy, whether cheerleading a gaggle of would-be salesmen or attempting to persuade a disillusioned Francine (Evelyn Brent), his good luck charm, to stay onboard despite ever impending doom. Miss Brent, who usually had only one expression -- sullen hauteur -- is quite charming as Powell's long-suffering girlfriend; and Frank McHugh, whose comedy relief often proved more grating than funny, is more than tolerable this time around as Powell's rah-rah second lieutenant. And finally there is veteran dialectician George Sidney, whose worried entrepreneur offers some of High Pressure's best laughs. A French-language version, La Bluffeur, was produced later in 1932 featuring Andre Luget as the promoter and Danish comic Torben Meyer as Ginsberg. "Warner Bros. remade the story under its original title, Hot Money, in 1936, this time featuring Ross Alexander and Joseph Cawthorn.

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Keywords

inventor, process [procedure], promoter, scheme, fast-talking, selling, stocks, girlfriend, business, garbage, pressure