blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Free and Easy (1931, Roy Mack)

Charlie McCarthy stars with Edgar Bergen in FREE AND EASY, directed by Roy Mack for Warner Bros.

The most cinematic thing about Free and Easy might be its end credits card. The card at least makes Easy feel like a short film and not a radio show. Well, wait, I guess there are three sight gags in the short… otherwise, it’d definitely be better suited for radio.

It opens with a group of singing hobos. Then, in his most ambitious move as director, Mack actually pulls back to reveal Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. In this opening scene, Bergen’s skill as a ventriloquist isn’t quite as clear in the subsequent one (the overly ambitious plot has four whole scenes).

Bergen goes back and forth between him and McCarthy and the scene–the two are consulting a gypsy–works. Just not as cinema. Mack sits the camera down and forgets about it. The dialogue pacing is also better suited for radio.

Easy isn’t awful, it’s just not cinematic.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Roy Mack; director of photography, Edwin B. DuPar; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Edgar Bergen (Professor / Charlie McCarthy) and Christina Graver (Kamisha).


Leave a Reply

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: