Short – “Asleep in the Feet” (1933) Review, with Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts

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Released by MGM | Directed By Gus Meins

Asleep in the Feet: 10 Cents a Dunce

“Nautical, but nice!”

For this go-around, Zasu and Thelma are a poor pair of working girls who decide to help out a friend by making the $20 of back rent she owes down at the local dance hall. Taxi dancers work for tickets bought by eager male companions, at least in Thelma’s case. Zasu has more trouble attracting clients, so she’s taken aside and given a makeover. And, brother, if you’ve never heard Zasu Pitts sneak out a sly, “boop-boop-a-doo”, you haven’t lived.

There are tons of tiny details in “Asleep in the Feet” that make it an interesting little time capsule. Besides Zasu and Thelma sharing a boarding room that lacks any sort of kitchen whatsoever and coming from their nightmarish day jobs at the department store, it’s also notable is how “the bank” is a mousetrap under the rug.

AsleepintheFeet

It’s well made, too. The fluid camera keeps all the dancing fun to watch. The energy of the picture is nice, with at one point it even dipping into surrealism as the club Zasu and Thelma is so hopping, empty shoes begin tapping on their own.

The short also underlines what differentiates these shorts from the Laurel and Hardy subjects and plenty of other films, as what’s showcased and emphasized isn’t the antagonistic nature of the two, but how they’re trusting friends who stick together in spite of each other’s flaws– Zasu is dizzy and Thelma’s unlucky. The film’s final moment, with the two embracing, is one of the sweetest of the series, and a reminder that there’s a real warmth to these shorts underneath the silliness.

Awards, Accolades & Availability

  • This film is available on YouTube.

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