FRIENDS OF MR. SWEENEY. Warner Brothers, 1934. Charlie Ruggles, Ann Dvorak, Eugene Pallette, Robert Barrat, Berton Churchill, Dorothy Burgess, Dorothy Tree, Harry Tyler. Based on a novel by Elmer Davis. Director: Edward Ludwig.

   Charlie Ruggles is the true star of this one, even though Friends of Mr. Sweeney was recently shown as part of a day-long salute on TCM to Ann Dvorak (pronounced with a silent D). As an editorial writer, over the years, he’s become hidebound and downtrodden, and totally subservient to his boss at the weekly magazine where he plies his trade, even to the point where he’s resigned to composing a favorable piece on a politician he knows is crooked.


   As his trusty assistant, Ann Dvorak can only look on sadly, and with unrequited fondness (which she obvious wishes could be more). Enter Eugene Pallette, Charlie’s old buddy at college, where they were on the football team together, and a couple of more high-spirited and fun-loving buddies you would be hard-pressed to find.

   Maybe you can take it from here. First a badly interrupted dinner date with his secretary, then out on the town as a foursome, posing as a friend of a fictitious Mr. Sweeney to enter one of the poshiest casinos in town, where all hilarity breaks out, then back to office while the building is being robbed (all part of the story line).


   The fussy Charlie Ruggles I always find amusing, especially in situations where he finds himself enjoying becoming a wildcat again. I often need only a small dose of Eugene Pallette to get me through the week, however, and unfortunately this is more than a small dose. (No offense intended.)

   Ann Dvorak, only 22 when this movie was made, was destined to have a career consisting only small parts or larger roles in minor movies like this one, but like this one, her beauty and engaging personality wins me over every time. (One scene is which she is wearing nothing but lingerie is rather revealing for a movie made with the Code in effect.)

Note:   You can see what I mean by that last parenthetical statement — as well as everything else I’ve said — by checking out the original trailer that’s available on the TCM website.