Looking For Trouble (1934)

looking for trouble 1934

Spencer Tracy and Jack Oakie are telephone repairmen that find more trouble that they bargained for. Oakie gets annoying and the ending is way, way,way out of left field. You’ll never see it coming. Character actor Charles Lane has a quick bit as a switchboard operator. In the credits he’s listed under his real name Charles Levison.

Joe Graham (Spencer Tracy) is offered an office job but tells his boss James Regan (Paul Harvey) he’s happy working on the lines and taking trouble calls. He’s got more overtime that night but his partner Dan Sutter (Morgan Conway) tells Regan his mother is sick and he can’t work that night. Joe is stuck with new transfer Casey (Jack Oakie). He’s a joker who likes to use hand buzzers and whoopie cushions to get a laugh.

The first call is a phone off the hook. When they get inside the apartment they find a dead man. It’s a heart attack. The next call takes them to a gambling club. Inside there’s Dan, drunk. Casey goes outside to climb the pole. One of the customers, Pearl LaTour comes on to Joe.

While repairing the line Casey overhears the cops talking about raiding the joint.  He tells Joe what he heard. Dan overhears them talking about it and tells the owner. Joe and Casey are blamed for the raids’ failure. When the cops got there the joint was empty.

Joe knows Dan is the real cause and he gives him the old one-two punch. Regan fires Dan. That night Joe smooths things over with his girlfriend Ethel Greenwood (Constance Cummings). The peace doesn’t last long as Dan comes to Ethel’s place. He lies to her and says Joe got him fired. Joe and Ethel argue and she heads out with Dan. Casey is with her roommate Maizie.

Joe and Ethel argue some more and she quits the phone company. Casey says they have a call at a real estate company. It was just a ploy to get Joe there because Ethel is a secretary. Looks like they’re pals again until Dan shows up. He’s the manager and gave her the job. Joe tries to make her jealous and comes on to Pearl.

The company is just a front for Dan’s racket. It’s next door to an investment firm. Dan taps their phone lines so he can get stock tips. He has Pearl and two guys in on it with him. Now customers are avoiding buying stocks and the racket is over. Checks are made out to the guys and Pearl with their cuts of the profits. Dan says he doesn’t know what name Pearl is using and says to leave the name blank.

He tries to convince Ethel to come away with him to Mexico City. He fills her name on the check. She refuses to take it.  One of the guys overhears that a shipment of two million dollars in negotiable securities will be stashed in the vault that night. The plan is to break through the wall and grab them.

Joe and Casey discover the wiretap and investigate. They’re caught by Dan and company and tied up and have to watch them dig through the floor. They must be nice crooks because they keep their suits and ties on while digging. To add insult to injury Dan calls Ethel and tells her to meet him at his apartment. She’s agreed to leave with him. Joe is right there and hears it all. Joe trips the fire alarm but since there’s no fire the fireman leave. Casey starts a fire and Dan and the boys head for the hills.

Joe takes the cops to Dan’s place. He’s dead and the check with Ethel’s name on it is in his hand. She’s arrested for his murder. It’s up to Joe and Casey to save her. They get some unexpected help.

The movie’s not very good and the events towards the end will have you shaking your head.

Charles Lane

Charles Lane



About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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