AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Stepping Out
Director: Charles F. Riesner (Dir)
Release Date:   11 Apr 1931
Production Date:   early Feb--late Feb 1931
Duration (in mins):   73
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Charlotte Greenwood (Sally [Smith])  
    Leila Hyams (Eve [Martin])  
    Reginald Denny (Tom [Martin])  
    Lilian Bond (Cleo [Del Rio])  
    Cliff Edwards (Paul [Perkins])  
    Merna Kennedy (Madge)  
    Harry Stubbs (Tubby [Smith])  
    Richard Tucker (Charley Miller)  
    Kane Richmond (Hal [Rogers])  
    Wilson Benge (Parker)  

Summary: Despite predictions that Eve Martin would not be able to hold onto her philandering husband for long, she and Tom have been married for two years. Eve's close friend Sally Smith is married to Tom's pal Tubby, who involves Tom in his latest scheme to play around behind their wives' backs. As part of their plan, the two appoint themselves as filmmakers and "audition" two young women, Cleo Del Rio and Bubbles. Though Tom is hesitant at first, after Tubby arranges a date with Cleo, they soon begin an illicit affair. Meanwhile, Sally suggests that she and Eve leave town for awhile in order to make their husbands miss and appreciate them more. As soon as Eve and Sally depart for Aguascalientes, Mexico, Tom and Tubby resume their philandering and invite the girls to Tom's house. While Tubby and Bubbles flirt, Tom takes Cleo aside and tells her that he loves his wife dearly and is only interested in the most discreet of trysts, one without any entanglements that might threaten his marriage. The gaiety is interrupted, however, when Tom's lawyer, Charley Miller, drops in and tells the men that the contract they signed to make a motion picture has left their assets unprotected if the picture goes beyond the planned budget. Tom and Tubby then take Charley's advice and safeguard their possessions by turning them over to their wives. They sign over all their stocks, bonds and checking accounts, hoping that Eve and Sally will remain ignorant of the transfer. After Charley leaves, some poolside merriment ensues, but is curtailed when the wives return unexpectedly because Eve has forgotten her bag. In the house, the women discover the papers that their husbands recently signed. On their way out, the wives discover Tubby in the pool with Bubbles playing "piggy wiggy" and Cleo waiting for Tom in one of their rooms. Eve and Sally make a hasty departure for Aguascalientes, but not before they clean out their husbands' bank accounts, leaving them broke. In Mexico, Eve and Sally happily squander their philandering husbands' money on bad bets. Later, Sally runs into an old college flame, Paul Perkins, who, along with his pal Hal Rogers, agrees to a double dinner date at Sally's bungalow. Just as the four are about to sit down to dinner, though, Tom and Tubby, who have also come to Mexico with Cleo and Bubbles, enter and discover that their wives have been "stepping out." The situation is soon reversed, however, when Eve and Sally discover Cleo and Bubbles in their husbands' bungalow, where, unbeknown to Tommy and Tubby, the girls have been waiting to blackmail them. All ends happily, though, when the husbands succeed in getting their wives back. They return home, and Tubby plays "piggy wiggy" with Sally. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's, Inc.)
Distribution Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.  
Director: Charles F. Riesner (Dir)
  Sandy Roth (Asst dir)
Writer: Elmer Harris (Dial)
  Robert E. Hopkins (Dial)
Photography: Leonard Smith (Photog)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
Film Editor: William S. Gray (Film ed)
Costumes: René Hubert (Ward)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec dir)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the play Stepping Out by Elmer Harris (New York, 20 May 1929).
Authors: Elmer Harris

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp. 27/4/1931 dd/mm/yyyy LP2172 Yes

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

 
Genre: Comedy
Sub-Genre: Domestic
 
Subjects (Major): Battle of the sexes
  Infidelity
  Marriage
  Motion picture producers
  Philanderers
 
Subjects (Minor): Agua Caliente (Mexico)
  Blackmail
  Contracts
  Gambling
  Horseracing
  Lawyers

Note: According to studio publicity material, Buster Keaton's Beverly Hills home was used as a background for exterior shots, as was Reginald Denny's ranch and John Gilbert's cactus garden. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Film Daily   24 May 31   p. 10.
HF   7 Feb 31   p. 32.
HF   21 Feb 31   p. 24.
Motion Picture Herald   21 Mar 31   p. 42.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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