The Show-Off (1934 film)

The Show-Off is a 1934 film, notable for being the first movie Spencer Tracy made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

The Show-Off
Lobby card
Written byGeorge Kelly (play)
Herman J. Mankiewicz (screenplay)
StarringSpencer Tracy
CinematographyJames Wong Howe
Edited byWilliam S. Gray
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
CountryUnited States
Box office$397,000[1][2]

Based on the hit play by George Kelly, it made a profit of $78,000.[1] Previously filmed twice by Paramount Pictures in 1926 and 1930, under the title Men Are Like That, and MGM remade the film in 1946, starring Red Skelton and Marilyn Maxwell.


Out sailing one day, J. Aubrey Piper saves a man from drowning. He overhears an impressed Amy Fisher's remark and looks her up in New Jersey, irritating her family with his constant bragging but winning Amy, who marries him.

A humble railroad clerk, Aubrey keeps pretending to be a more important man. He spends lavishly, piling up so much debt that he and Amy must move in with her parents. He gets fired by his boss Preston for making a wild offer on a piece of land, overstepping his authority by far.

Amy is fed up and intends to leave him. Aubrey runs into her brother Joe, an inventor whose rust-prevention idea has received a firm offer of $5,000. Aubrey goes to the firm and demands Joe get $100,000 plus a 50% ownership interest. The company rescinds its offer entirely.

Everybody's fed up with Aubrey, but suddenly Joe rushes home to say the company's changed its mind, offering him $50,000 plus 20%. And the railroad property paid off, too, so Aubrey's offered his old job back, with a raise. He knows how lucky he's been and that he should just shut up, but he just can't.


Radio adaptation

The Show-Off was adapted twice for radio by Lux Radio Theater. The first broadcast was on September 12, 1935, starring Joe E. Brown; the second was on February 2, 1943, starring Harold Peary.


  1. James Curtis, Spencer Tracy: A Biography, Alfred Knopf, 2011 p231
  2. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.

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