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Lee Tracy, the actor who makes a delightful specialty of playing motormouthed manipulators and flimflammers (including Hildy Johnson in Broadway’s original The Front Page and slick publicity man “Space” Hanlon in Jean Harlow’s Bombshell), stars in the pre-code comedy Clear All Wires! He portrays Buckley Joyce Thomas, brash foreign correspondent of the Chicago Globe. Bounced from a Moscow assignment for “conduct unbecoming a gentleman,” Buckley and his right-hand man Lefty (James Gleason) set in motion a plot to get their jobs back by staging a high-level assassination attempt and scooping the world – a plan that spins wildly out of control. Working from their Broadway play, Bella and Samuel Spewack provide the movie adaptation. They would rework the play for composer Cole Porter’s stage hit Leave It to Me! Perhaps most significantly, they would reunite with Porter for the timeless Kiss Me, Kate.

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WAA85437 Clear All Wires DVD (1933/Lee Tracy) $17.99