Man Alive is an inventive and consistently amusing farce dominated by stars Pat O'Brien and Adolphe Menjou. The former plays Speed, a moderately successful garage owner. Wrongly convinced that his wife Connie (Ellen Drew) has fallen in love with his old friend Gordon (Rudy Vallee), Speed goes off on a toot. During a long and drunken night, he gives his clothes and his car to an old tramp named Willie the Wino (Jack Norton). With Speed as his passenger, Willie piles the car into a river; he is drowned, but Speed is rescued by showboat entrepreneur Kismet (Menjou). When the car is recovered, it is assumed that the body inside is Speed's. At first determined to prove to his grieving "widow" that he's still alive, Speed is convinced by Kismet to test Connie's loyalty, leading to a series of zany consequences. Former "Our Gang" member Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer figures prominently in the hectic closing scenes. Alas, Man Alive failed to make back its cost when first released, convincing RKO Radio to lay off such whimsical fare in the future.
by Hal Erickson synopsis