Soak the Rich (1936)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Run Time - 86 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

In the print ads for Soak the Rich, writers/producers/directors Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur were shown singing "We're the boys who wrote the yarn/ And here's what it's about/ Class ideas don't mean a thing/ When love kicks 'em out." The film pokes broad fun at New Deal liberalism and 1930s campus unrest, which the authors evidently regarded as a passing fad ("the latest form of necking," observes one character) Millionaire college chairman Humphrey Craig (Walter Connolly) is saddled with fuzzy-headed daughter Belinda (Mary Taylor), who allows campus radicals to hold rallies in her living room. The main bone of contention is Belinda's romance with starry-eyed economics professor Buzz Jones (John Howard), whom Craig had fired after the publication of Jones' inflammatory book Soak the Rich. Belinda's enchantment with "pinkos" comes to an end when she's kidnapped by a comically menacing communist agitator (Lionel Stander) and when Buzz proposes marriage (in the Brave New World, she reasons, there is no room for matrimony). Her fed-up daddy solves matters with a shotgun wedding -- only it's the bride, not the groom, who's the reluctant participant. Novelist Alice Duer Miller, a longtime Hecht-MacArthur crony, plays a supporting role. Soak the Rich may sound like a "lost masterpiece," but it isn't; in fact, many critics regard it as one of the worst films of the 1930s.



campus, enemy, family-disapproval, forbidden-love, love, marriage, professor, radical, romance, socialite