Short – “Sealskins” (1932) Review, with Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts

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Released by MGM | Directed By Morley Lightfoot and Gilbert Pratt

Seal Skins: House of Whosits

“A seal for sale– cheap!”

For this installment, Thelma’s a newspaper stenographer who yearns to beat one of the female reporters at her game. A mix up in search of a stolen Siberian seal leads Thelma and Zasu to an old dark house full of sideshow performers, including a tall man, a midget, a witch doctor (who apparently lounges around in his getup), and a boxing gorilla. There’s nothing malicious in their portrayals, as all the freaks are working stiffs just trying to relax while two hysterical women run around in search of a seal.

But which Smith?
But which Smith?

There’s nothing particularly noteworthy in this one, besides the journalism mileau that so many other pre-Codes took advantage of. Setting up a female reporter rivalry is a nice touch, even if there isn’t a payoff. There’s also a few moments where the short tries to build tension rather than just go for laughs, which makes it a bit better than your usual spooky house send-up, if only by a hair.

Awards, Accolades & Availability

  • This film is available on YouTube.

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Danny

Danny is a librarian who lives on the coast of California with his lovely wife, adorable daughter, and yappy dog. He blogs bi-weekly at pre-code.com, a website dedicated to Hollywood films from 1930 to 1934, and can be found on Twitter @PreCodeDotCom.

2 thoughts on “Short – “Sealskins” (1932) Review, with Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts

  1. That’ll be Charles Gemora in the monkey suit, Hollywood’s favourite gorilla. Also in Island of Lost Souls, Murder in the Rue Morgue, At the Circus (Marx Bros), Swiss Miss (Laurel & Hardy) and the Martian in “War of the Worlds” (1953)

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