Broad Minded (First National, 1931)

Broadminded one sheetOne Sheet Poster


A comedy vehicle for First National’s rising star Joe E. Brown, although the film was originally slated to star James Rennie and Fred Kohler. Bela Lugosi displays his fine comedic skill as Pancho Arango, a highly strung South American who finds himself constantly on the receiving end of the hapless Joe E. Brown’s unintentional faux pas.Despite his non-horror role, his Dracula image was played up in some publicity stills and mentioned in reviews.


Production Company: First National

Director: Mervyn LeRoy

Screenplay: Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby

Original Story: Edgar Allen Wolf, Humphrey Pearson and Henry McCarthy

Cinematography: Sid Hickox

Art Director: Anton Grot

Wardrobe: Earl Luick

Costume Design: Edward Stevenson

Music: Herbert Taylor

Orchestra: The Vitaphone Orchestra

Conductor: Leo F. Forbstein

Editor: Al Hall

Running Time: 65 minutes

Copyright Number: LP2316, June 26 1931


Joe E. Brown: Ossie Simpson

Ona Munson: Constance Palmer

William Collier, Jr.: Jack Hackett

Marjorie White: Penny Packer

Holmes Herbert: John J. Hackett, Sr.

Margaret Livingston: Mabel Robinson

Thelma Todd: Gertie Gardner

Bela Lugosi: Pancho Arango

Grayce Hampton: Aunt Polly

Bill Elliot: Hotel guest on veranda

George Grandee: Casper

Jack Grey: 1st Policeman 

Tom McGuire: Tim, the 2nd Policeman

Edward Hearn: Man at fire escape window

Margaret Mann: Huntington Hotel guest

Larry Steers: Maitre d’ 

Elinor Vanderveer: Restaurant diner

Florence Wix: Hotel guest in hallway


Variety, April 7, 1931

“Broad Minded” is the first story written directly into and around an actor’s face. Exposure of Brown’s tonsils is all that is necessary to get laughs, but FN surrounds the Joie map with some pretty girls and customary comedy dressing. That fills this out into a big Brown picture. They’ll roar during many parts of this running time in every class of theater. It’s an exceptionally good comedy program talker.

A baby party opens the story with William Collier, Jr., as a careless rich man’s son wheeling in the prize package. In infant’s hat and gown drinking hooch in the carriage, Brown here hits his fastest comedy pace. The police raid and the ride home in the milk wagon work in nicely a transitional trip which brings in the other characters.

Ona Munson is found under an auto and her girl friend Marjorie White in the back seat beneath a blanket. They follow through to a double marriage with Bela Lugosi retaining his “Dracula” mannerisms in a South American characterization erected for Brown’s further comic excitation.

Imitating a gorilla, eating celery, showing an actress how to do the weeps, all give Joe Brown those chances to work that mouth, throat and eyes.



Pitsburgh Press, July 5, 1931

Broad Minded, Pitsburgh Press, July 5, 1931*

The New York Times, July 6, 1931


Life in California

Joe E. Brown’s latest effusion is intended primarily for the Summer life of the country and for those who like their comedy—well, with Joe E. Brown. Categorically, the first will allow a multitude of sins and omissions and the second will find peace in tricks with fountain pens and baby cars. That there are considerable of both seemed to be shown by the laughter—mild, anyway—which greeted the varied incidents of “Broad Minded” yesterday.

The Strand’s new occupant makes no pretentions beyond that of a program bit, with well-remembered situations and tried encounters between comic heroes and their fates. It is built around a series of misunderstandings, with letters and exposures and embarrassing circumstances. With half a dozen songs and a chorus it would be a musical comedy along the usual lines; nothing more Summery by nature than that could easily be found. And Joe E. Brown is all of it; or vice versa. The story is about a gay young man and the even gayer young lady who wants to marry him. His father decides to send him away, putting him in the care of his cousin—in this case, Mr. Brown. The trip West is made in a baby car, and there are adventures of one kind or another on the way. Then love, and further complications, set in (as they will in California) but strained circumstances ultimately iron out themselves. Life goes on Again. As the cousin, Mr. Brown plays in his usual boisterous fashion, although even he is not agile enough to keep up to some of “Broad Minded’s” more far-reaching climaxes. William Collier Jr. has the part of the gay young man, and at times seems a trifle out of his territory. Ona Munson and Marjorie White have the two main parts opposite them. But it is all very difficult. Life in California.  BROAD MINDED, based on a story by Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmer; directed by Mervyn LeRoy; a First National Picture. At the Warner’s Strand and the Brooklyn Strand. 

Ossle Simpson . . . . . Joe E. Brown 

Constance Palmer . . . . . Ona Munson 

Jack Hackett . . . . . William Collier Jr. 

Penelope Packer . . . . . Marjorie White 

John Hackett . . . . . Holmest Herbert 

Mabel Robinson . . . . . Margaret Livingston 

Gertie Gardner . . . . . Thelma Todd 

Aunt Polly . . . . . Grayce Hampton 

Pancho . . . . . Bela Lugosi 

Casper . . . . . George Grandee


The Norfolk Hour, July 24, 1931

Broadminded, The Norfolk Hour, July 24, 1931*

Sarasota Herald Tribune, August 14, 1931

Broad Minded, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, August 14, 1931 1

Broadminded, Sarasota Herald Tribune, August 14, 1931*

Lawrence Journal-World, August 18, 1931

Broadminded, Lawrence Journal-World, August 18, 1931*

Eugene, Register-Guard, August 20,1931

Broadminded, Eugene, Register-Guard, August 20,1931*

Eugene, Register-Guard, August 21,1931

Broadminded, Eugene, Register-Guard, August 21,1931*

Eugene, Register-Guard, August 22, 1931

Broadminded, Eugene, Register-Guard, August 22, 1931*

Broadminded, The Bulletin, October 27, 1931

Broadminded, The Bulletin, October 27, 1931*

The Brisbane Courier, October 28, 1931

The Brisbane Courier, October 28, 1931*

The Brisbane Courier, October 30, 1931

The Brisbane Courier, October 30, 1931*

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Queensland), January 23, 1932

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld). January 23, 1932*

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Queensland), January 26, 1932

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld). January 26, 1932 a*

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Queensland), January 27, 1932

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Queensland), January 27, 1932*

Broadminded Lobby Card 2*

Lobby Card

Broadminded Lobby Card 1*


Broad Minded Herald 2



Thelma Todd, Bela Lugosi, Ona Munson, William Collier, Jr., Marjorie White and Joe E. Brown

Bela Lugosi, Marjorie White and Joe E. Brown

Wide freedom of na

Bela Lugosi, Marjorie White, Joe E. Brown, Thelma Todd and Ona Munson

Freedom and stretch na 2

Marjorie White and Joe E. Brown

Courtesy of

Broadminded still

Joe E. Brown and Bela Lugosi