..

Free and Easy
(aka Easy Go)

Release date: March 22, 1930
Length: 92 minutes
A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Production
Distributed by: M-G-M
Producer/Director: Edward Sedgwick
Scenario: Richard Schayer
Dialogue: Al Boasberg
Adaptation: Paul Dickey
Photography: Leonard Smith
Editors: William LeVanway and George Todd
Art Director: Cedric Gibbons
Recording Engineer: Douglas Shearer
Songs: Roy Turk and Fred E. Ahlert
Dances: Sammy Lee
Costumes: David Cox

Cast:
Buster Keaton: Elmer Butts
Anita Page: Elvira Plunkett
Trixie Friganza: Ma Plunkett
Robert Montgomery: Larry Mitchell
Fred Niblo: The Director
Edward Brophy: The Stage Manager
Edgar Dearing: The Guard
David Button: Another Director
Cameos by: Jackie Coogan, Lionel Barrymore, Karl Dane, Dorothy Sebastian, William Haines, Cecil B. DeMille, Gwen Lee, William Collier, Sr.

 

Boarding the train from Kansas to Hollywood, aspiring star Elvira Plunkett, the newly crowned Miss Gopher City, is accompanied by her mother and Elmer Butts, her manager and secret admirer. As the train departs, Elmer is trapped on the back platform of the caboose holding the train tickets. Elvira and her loud, brash mother find themselves in the compartment belonging to M-G-M movie idol Larry Mitchell. Mitchell takes an immediate shine to Elvira and offers tickets to his movie premier at the Chinese theatre, as well as an introduction to a film director. As the conductor forces the women off the train for lack of fare, Elmer jumps from the caboose and presents the tickets.

In Hollywood, the trio arrives at the theatre to see Mitchell's film, but because of the huge crowd, Elmer parks the car miles from the cinema, returning in time to see "The End" of the movie. Elmer gets up from his seat to search for Elvira and her mother, just as actor William Haines' name is announced. The Master of Ceremony, William Collier, Sr., coaxes Elmer onto the stage and makes fools out of him and the Plunketts, who storm out of the theatre.

The next day, Elvira and her mother visit the studio to watch Larry being directed in a musical. Left outside the studio gates, Elmer sneaks by the guard and wrecks havoc on several sets in his search for Elvira. After causing an explosion on one set, and disrupting a love triangle scene on another, Elmer crashes into the dancers on the stage where Larry's musical is being filmed. As the director rages at Elmer, Larry and Elvira come to his rescue and get him a role as a messenger in the film. Elmer is totally inept, unable to recite his one line of dialogue, much to the chagrin of the director, who orders him off the set. Elmer then inadvertently gets a job as a studio driver, working the night shift.

After attending a Hollywood party, Elvira and Larry go back to his apartment to listen to his new recording. Elmer, their chauffeur, senses trouble ahead and races back to the hotel to pick up Ma Plunkett. Larry and a tearful Elvira have just had a misunderstanding of intentions when Elmer and Ma Plunkett burst into the room. The women make a hasty departure as Elmer and Larry tussle over Elvira's honor. The men finally settle down when they discover that they know each other from the same Kansas town.

At an audition set up by Larry, Elmer manages to get the part of the little king in the musical production. When Larry tries to apologize to Elvira and her mother, Ma Plunkett's loud, abrasive voice gets her the part of the queen in the film too. Larry professes his love for Elvira, while Elmer and Ma Plunkett perform a comical, burlesque song and dance that erupts into a slapping and shoving act, as they have their clothes ripped off.

Elmer's shyness and loss for words botch up his proposal to Elvira, and she thinks Larry is the one who wants to marry her. Before he has the chance to explain, Elmer is called onto the set for another dance number, the "Free and Easy." When Elmer and Ma Plunkett complete their scene, Elmer discovers that Larry has already proposed to an elated Elvira. Heartbroken, but now a star comic, Elmer returns to the set and films the finale to a tune entitled, "It Must Be You." — Janice Agnello