Hook, Line and Sinker (1930 film)

Hook, Line and Sinker is a 1930 American pre-Code slapstick comedy directed by Edward F. Cline from a screenplay by Ralph Spence and Tim Whelan. It was the third starring vehicle for the comedy team of Wheeler & Woolsey (Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey), and also featured Dorothy Lee. It would be one of the largest financial successes for RKO Pictures in 1930.

Hook, Line and Sinker
Poster for the film
Directed byEdward F. Cline
Frederick Fleck (assistant)
Produced byWilliam LeBaron
Myles Connolly (assoc.)[1]
Written byRalph Spence
Tim Whelan
StarringBert Wheeler
Robert Woolsey,
Dorothy Lee
CinematographyNicholas Musuraca
Edited byArchie Marshek
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • December 24, 1930 (1930-12-24) ( Premiere-New York City)[2]
  • December 26, 1930 (1930-12-26) (U.S.)[2]
Running time
72 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Box office$780,000[4]


Two fast-talking insurance salesmen — Wilbur Boswell and J. Addington Ganzy — help penniless socialite Mary Marsh to turn a dilapidated hotel, which was willed to her, into a thriving success. They soon run into trouble, however, in the form of two sets of rival gangsters who want to break into the hotel safe; also, Mary's mother, Rebecca Marsh, wants her to marry wealthy lawyer John Blackwell, although Mary has fallen in love with Wilbur. And while she takes an instant dislike to Wilbur, Rebecca falls for Ganzy. Adding to the complications is the fact that Blackwell is actually in league with the gangsters. The finale involves nighttime runarounds and a shoot-out in the hotel. During the pitched battle between the rival gangs and the police, Boswell and Ganzy save the jewels, after which Ganzy marries Rebecca, and then gives away Mary at her marriage to Wilbur.


(Cast list as per AFI database)[2]


The film made a profit of $225,000,[4] and would be one of the top two money earners for RKO Radio Pictures in 1930.[4]


In 1958, the film entered the public domain in the United States because the claimants did not renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication.[5]


  1. "Hook, Line and Sinker: Technical Details". theiapolis.com. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  2. "Hook, Line and Sinker: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  3. Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994, p. 55
  4. Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York: Arlington House. p. 24. ISBN 0-517-546566.
  5. Pierce, David (June 2007). "Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain". Film History: An International Journal. 19 (2): 125–43. doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125. ISSN 0892-2160. JSTOR 25165419. OCLC 15122313. See note #60, pg. 143.
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