Short – “100% Service” (1931) Review, with Burns and Allen

Indifferent

Released by Paramount | Directed By Ray Cozine

100% Service: Neigh

“You won’t get any trouble out of me. I’m a pauper.”

“A what?”

“A pauper!”

“Well, congratulations! Is it a boy or a girl?”

George Burns and Gracie Allen’s comedic schtick, for those of you not in the know, is a long– long– series of malaprops where George’s words are constantly confused by Gracie for other similar sounding words. That composes most of the running time for this short set in a hotel lobby (though George does get a rare moment to land some of his own gags at the short’s beginning), and, if you’re not a fan of that type of humor, there’s not much to recommend or note here. Personally I just nod and move on; it’s clever, but they feel old and tired like the stage routines they were.

Except the ending, which is pretty much all the proof you need that this was made at Paramount. It ends with a woman heading into an elevator to go play ‘honeymoon bridge’ with George, and they’re followed, first by some bellboys. then a half dozen men, and finally … a horse? Yes, unless there’s some sort of illicit hotel horse show going on, the movie is implying not just group sex but bestiality as well. I guess that’s… uh… something. A very silly something, but kind of shocking and wondrous considering how numbing most of the film’s humor is to that point.

Awards, Accolades & Availability

  • This film is available on YouTube.

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2 Replies to “Short – “100% Service” (1931) Review, with Burns and Allen”

  1. It struck me that the ending is defiitely pre-code. What is interesting is knowing this the UM&M TV Corp print for syndication we still have that ending when it may have been released for television in the 1950s (?).

    1. It’s probably so absurd and so momentary that it may have been missed, or so absurd that it’s assumed that audiences just didn’t get the implication. But I have no idea really.

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