Playing Around

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Playing Around
Playing Around 1930 Poster.jpg
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Produced by Warner Bros.
Written by Harvey F. Thew
Adele Comandini
Frances Nordstrom
Based on Sheba
short story
by Viña Delmar
Starring Alice White
Chester Morris
William Bakewell
Music by Earl Sitar and Leo F. Forbstein
Cinematography Sol Polito
Distributed by First National Pictures
Release date
January 19, 1930
Running time
66 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Playing Around is a 1930 American Pre-Code drama film with songs, starring Alice White, Chester Morris and William Bakewell. It was adapted from the story entitled Sheba, which was written by Viña Delmar. The film was produced and distributed by First National Pictures, a subsidiary of Warner Bros.


Alice White plays the part of a working class girl who dreams about living a life of luxury. Her father, Richard Carlyle, runs a cigar store while White works as a stenographer. William Bakewell, a soda jerker, is madly in love with White and has even asked her father for his consent to their marriage. Although Carlyle likes Bakewell and would like to see her daughter marry him, White refuses to consider marrying him on the wage he currently earns. One day, White convinces Bakewell to take her to a fancy exclusive nightclub. Once they arrive and are seated, Bakewell is shocked at the prices and suggests that they go elsewhere. This leads to an argument with White. As the couple is about to leave, an announcement is made for a leg contest and White decides to enter. She wins first place and is awarded her prize by Chester Morris, a gangster. Dazzled by his fancy clothes and car, White accepts his attentions and give Bakewell the air.

Eventually Morris asks White to go away with him. White naively thinks that he intends to marry her. Before they make their trip, Morris, who is low on cash, robs a cigar store and in the process shoots the man behind the counter. Without knowing it, he has shot White's father. As White and Morris are about to leave on their trip, they stop at her father's cigar store to say goodbye. As they approach they see police stationed around and Morris realizes what he has done. He convinces White to stay in the car while he checks out what happened. He talks a bit to the police and then tells White that her father is ok and that he now at the police station to help the police identify a thief. In reality, however White's father is at the hospital suffering from a gunshot wound that Morris gave him. Morris convinces White to continue on the trip with him and they drive to the train station. Bakewell, who suspects that Morris was behind the robbery, asks the police to help him entrap Morris. They manage to get Morris to unwittingly to confess to the crime before he has a chance to board the train. Morris is arrested and White's father recovers. White, chastened by the experience, agrees to marry Bakewell.



  • "You Learn About Love Every Day" (Theme Song; Sung by Alice White and unidentified tenor.)
  • "You're My Captain Kidd"
  • "That's the Lowdown on the Lowdown"
  • "Playing Around"


Playing Around survives intact in the Turner Entertainment library.[1] Also preserved in the Library of Congress collection.[2]


  1. ^ 1957 MOVIES FROM AAP Warner Bros Features & Cartoons SALES BOOK DIRECTED AT TV
  2. ^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress, (<-book title) p.142 by the American Film Institute

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