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Film / The Boob

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Joan Crawford and Not Joan Crawford

The Boob is a 1926 film directed by William A. Wellman.

Yes, that's the title. It means "idiot, sucker, dummy".

Peter is the boob in question, a hick from the country who is upset that the girl he likes, Amy, is dating a city slicker named Harry Benson. Harry is suspiciously well-dressed and drives a fancy car; Peter suspects that he is a bootlegger.

Peter gets the bright idea to dress up as a cowboy to impress Amy. When this fails completely he decides to be a detective and prove that Harry is a bootlegger. Peter tracks Amy and Harry to a local hotspot, "The Booklovers' Club", and finds out that it's a speakeasy and Harry is a bootlegger. There he meets Jane, a Prohibition agent, who mistakes him for a fellow agent and enlists him in getting the bootleggers.

The Boob was one of the first credits for William A. Wellman, who soon hit the big time when he directed the first film to win an Oscar for Best Picture, Wings. Jane the Prohibition agent was played by an up-and-coming young MGM actress named Joan Crawford, who also was soon to hit the big time.


  • The Alcoholic: Peter's crusty old uncle Cactus, who goes all the way to the nightclub on foot after he realizes that his flask of liquor is in the saddlebag of the horse Peter rode away on. After he gets there he finds a treasure trove of flasks chucked out a window, and stuffs his shirt with them.
  • Foot Popping: Amy is doing this at the end as she and Peter kiss. At first all we see is their fee, in fact, as a horse is in the way.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Surely one of the all-time examples. In Britain it was released as The Yokel.note 
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Peter is followed along on his adventure by his buddy, a small black child named, in some good old 1920s racism, "Ham Bunn".
  • Love Triangle: Amy, her dashing boyfriend Harry, and Peter who longs for Amy.
  • Ominous Owl: At one point Peter and Ham blunder into a graveyard and are spooked by an ominous owl that hoots at them.
  • Punny Name: The "books" at the Booklovers' Club are actually disguised liquor flasks. They have names like "Gunga Gin".
  • Swing Low, Sweet Harriet: Amy and Harry, swinging together in a romantic swing, while Peter watches and fumes.
  • Title Drop: When Jane mistakes Peter for an agent and gives him an assignment, he says "There's a girl who doesn't think I'm a boob!" Later when a triumphant Peter is getting a kiss from Jane his friend Cactus says "Who's the boob now?"
  • You Just Ruined the Shot: Peter sees two dancers performing the "Apache dance", a stylized dance in which a pimp is supposed to be abusing his prostitute. He blunders in thinking it's real. (Charlie Chaplin used a similar gag involving the Apache dance in a far more famous film, City Lights.)