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The Show-Off (1934 film)

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The Show-Off
Lobby card
Directed byCharles Reisner
Written byHerman J. Mankiewicz
Based onThe Show-Off
by George Kelly
Produced byLucien Hubbard
StarringSpencer Tracy
Madge Evans
Henry Wadsworth
CinematographyJames Wong Howe
Edited byWilliam S. Gray
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
March 9, 1934
Running time
77 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$397,000[1][2]

The Show-Off is a 1934 American comedy film directed by Charles Reisner and starring Spencer Tracy, Madge Evans and Henry Wadsworth. It is notable for being the first movie Tracy made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; he was on loan-out from Fox at the time and later moved to MGM.

Based on the hit play of the same name by George Kelly, it made a profit of $78,000.[1] Previously filmed twice by Paramount Pictures in 1926 and 1930, under the title Men Are Like That, and MGM remade the film in 1946, starring Red Skelton and Marilyn Maxwell.


Out sailing one day, J. Aubrey Piper saves a man from drowning. He overhears an impressed Amy Fisher's remark and looks her up in New Jersey, irritating her family with his constant bragging but winning Amy, who marries him.

A humble railroad clerk, Aubrey keeps pretending to be a more important man. He spends lavishly, piling up so much debt that he and Amy must move in with her parents. He gets fired by his boss Preston for making a wild offer on a piece of land, overstepping his authority by far.

Amy is fed up and intends to leave him. Aubrey runs into her brother Joe, an inventor whose rust-prevention idea has received a firm offer of $5,000. Aubrey goes to the firm and demands Joe get $100,000 plus a 50% ownership interest. The company rescinds its offer entirely.

Everybody's fed up with Aubrey, but suddenly Joe rushes home to say the company's changed its mind, offering him $50,000 plus 20%. And the railroad property paid off, too, so Aubrey's offered his old job back, with a raise. He knows how lucky he's been and that he should just shut up, but he just can't.


Radio adaptation

The Show-Off was adapted twice for radio by the Lux Radio Theatre. The first one-hour broadcast was on December 9, 1935, starring Joe E. Brown;[3] the second was on February 1, 1943, starring Harold Peary.[4]


  1. ^ a b c James Curtis, Spencer Tracy: A Biography, Alfred Knopf, 2011 p231
  2. ^ a b The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  3. ^ "Radio Day by Day". The Reading Eagle. 1935-12-09. p. 16. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  4. ^ "Cavalcade Will Feature 1st Marines in Tripoli". Youngstown Vindicator (Ohio). 1943-02-01. p. 19. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
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