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You Said a Mouthful

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You Said a Mouthful (1932) starring Joe E. Brown, Ginger Rogers


In You Said a Mouthful, shipping clerk Joe Holt (Joe E. Brown) invents an unsinkable swimsuit. But he’s unsuccessful in selling it. A socialite (Ginger Rogers) mistakes him for a famous swimmer with the same name and enters him in a 20-mile race. But Joe doesn’t even know how to swim!

Review of You Said a Mouthful

You Said a Mouthful is a sweet, funny comedy. The plot’s frankly similar to Buster Keaton‘s Battling Butler. Our hero (Joe Holt/Joe E. Brown) is mistaken for an athlete (professional swimmer) with the same name. In order to impress the girl that he’s fallen in love with (a young Ginger Rogers), he tries to keep up appearances and win a swimming contest.

Alice Brandon (Ginger Rogers) meets Joe Holt (Joe E. Brown) as Sam (Farina) looks on

But, he can’t swim! On the other hand, he’s created an unsinkable swimming suit that should save the day. Until his girl switches it with a suit that she’s bought for him.

During the race, he’s fine … until she tells him that he’s wearing her suit. His friend Sam (Farina) then accidentally hits him on the head with an anchor! But he shakes it off and passes his rival when he thinks a shark is nibbling on his toes. But after a final obstacle with seaweed, he wins the race and the girl.

It’s a very funny film, with lots of comedy athletic scenes, and sweet as well.

Cast of characters

  • Joe Holt (Joe E. Brown, Elmer the Great). The likable protagonist. A young man who’s created an unsinkable swimsuit. He’s mistaken for a swimming champion with the same name. And despite being unable to swim, he has to win a dangerous swimming contest to win the heart of:
  • Alice Brandon ( Ginger Rogers, Roxie Hart). The young socialite, who quickly becomes smitten with the “professional athlete” Joe. And wants him to not only win the race, but humiliate her ex-boyfriend:
  • Ed Dover (Preston Foster, The Time Travelers). The ex-boyfriend, who hopes to win Alice back. He takes an immediate dislike to Joe. His feelings are cemented when Joe nearly drowns him but takes credit for “rescuing” him.
  • Sam Wellington (Allen ‘Farina’ Hoskins, The Little Rascals). The child of his late aunt’s servant, whom Joe “inherits”and takes along to Catalina. And Sam becomes a true friend, helping Joe at critical points.

Songs in You Said a Mouthful

Editorial review of You Said a Mouthful courtesy of

Preston takes Joe for a ride – literally!

Laughter comes in waves in You Said a Mouthful, a wet and wild comedy starring Joe E. Brown and Ginger Rogers. The inventor of an unsinkable swimsuit, shipping clerk Joe Holt (Brown) quits his job at the Armstrong Rubber Goods Corp. and moves to California. While on Catalina Island looking for work, Joe is mistaken by socialite Alice Brandon (Rogers) for a champion marathon swimmer, who is competing in a 21- mile race to the mainland, and Joe is shocked to discover he’s expected to participate. Begged by Alice to show up her pompous ex-suitor, Ed (Preston Foster), Joe agrees despite the fact that he can’t swim. Donning his unsinkable bathing suit, Joe hurries across the channel, braving octopi, seaweed, sharks and more as he races Ed for Alice’s hand and a $25,000 purse.

[Updated February 17, 2023]

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