The Passionate Plumber

The Passionate Plumber is a 1932 American pre-Code comedy film directed by Edward Sedgwick, and starring Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante, and Irene Purcell.[1] The screenplay by Laurence E. Johnson and Ralph Spence is based on the play Dans sa candeur naïve by Jacques Deval. It is the second screen adaptation of the play, following the 1928 silent film The Cardboard Lover. It later was remade in 1942 as Her Cardboard Lover.

The Passionate Plumber
Directed byEdward Sedgwick
Produced byHarry Rapf
Written byLaurence E. Johnson
Ralph Spence
StarringBuster Keaton
Jimmy Durante
CinematographyNorbert Brodine
Edited byWilliam S. Gray
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
February 6, 1932
Running time
73 minutes
CountryUnited States

A French-language version was made at the same time, under the title, Le plombier amoureux.


Paris plumber Elmer Tuttle is enlisted by socialite Patricia Alden to help make her lover Tony Lagorce jealous. With the help of his friend Julius J. McCracken, and through the high society contacts he has made through Patricia, Elmer hopes to find financing for his latest invention, a pistol with a target-illuminating light. Comic complications ensue when Elmer's effort to interest a military leader is misconstrued as an assassination attempt.


Critical reception

Variety observed: "There is some comedy of merit in this flimsy scenario, stretched from a natural two-reel length to fill a full-length spool, and it isn't necessary to gaze beyond the cast to find the source. But the cast and the laughs are constantly obliged to fight the plot and motives; unfortunately, the plot wins the battle, contrary to the picture's best interests. ... While Durante and Keaton are cross-firing for laughs, the rest is momentarily laid aside, and when the chief laugh grabbers return to the theme, they don't mix. Polly Moran hasn't much to do, which is the picture's biggest disappointment."[2] The New York Times gave a positive review.[3]


  1. Neibaur, James L. (July 16, 2010). The Fall of Buster Keaton: His Films for MGM, Educational Pictures, and Columbia. Scarecrow Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-8108-7683-5.
  2. "The Passionate Plumber Review". Variety.
  3. "The Passionate Plumber Review". The New York Times. March 12, 1932.
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