Sit Tight

Sit Tight is a 1931 American Pre-Code musical comedy film, directed by Lloyd Bacon, written by Rex Taylor, edited by James Gibbon, and produced and distributed by Warner Bros. It was originally intended as a full musical, but due to the backlash against musicals, all the songs were cut from the film except for one – sung by Winnie Lightner – in all release prints in the United States.[2]

Sit Tight
Directed byLloyd Bacon
Screenplay byWilliam K. Wells (& dialogue)
Story byRex Taylor
StarringWinnie Lightner
Joe E. Brown
Claudia Dell
Paul Gregory
CinematographyWilliam Rees
Edited byJames Gibbon
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • February 28, 1931 (1931-02-28)
Running time
78 Minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$774,000[1]


Winnie is the head of a health clinic and has Jojo (played by Joe E. Brown) as one of her employees. Jojo is a wrestler forced to enter the ring and face down a musclebound masked opponent Olaf (played by Frank Hagney). Making matters worse, the masked marauder is convinced his wife has been fooling around with JoJo. JoJo is knocked out early in the proceedings, whereupon he dreams he is a sultan surrounded by harem girls.

A romantic subplot involves Tom (played by Paul Gregory) and Sally (played by Claudia Dell). Tom works for Sally's father. Sally asks her father to give Tom a promotion so she can spend more time with him. When Tom refuses to be promoted without earning the position, she threatens to have him fired and he quits his job. Tom attempts to begin a new career as a championship wrestler and is trained by Winnie and Jojo. When Sally learns about this, she attempts to stop him and asks for his forgiveness. She pleads with him to not fight but he has already pledged to do so.

Pre-Code sequencesEdit

In one sequence, Joe E. Brown refuses to strip (for wrestling) when asked to by another man and makes comments about "not knowing him well enough", implying that the man wants to sleep with him.



Only a print with the majority of the musical numbers cut seems to have survived. The trailer, which also survives, contains an instrumental of another song which was written for the film and originally sung by Winnie Lightner. The only surviving song on extant prints of the film is: "Face It With A Smile" Sung by Lightner.


One of the sets used in Kismet (1930), along with some lavish costumes, were used in the dream sequence in this film. Gregory and Dell were musical stars who were given contracts by Warner Bros. for their musical talent. They originally sang a number of songs in this film but these numbers were cut in the prints released in the United States.[citation needed]

Box OfficeEdit

According to Warner Bros records the film earned $632,000 domestically and $142,000 foreign.[1]

Preservation statusEdit

Only the cut print released in the United States seems to have survived. The complete film was released intact in countries outside the United States where a backlash against musicals never occurred. Newspapers outside the United States noted that Winnie Lightner sang several lively songs throughout the picture.[3] It is unknown whether a copy of this full version still exists.

A black and white copy is held by the Library of Congress.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 11 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  2. ^ The AFI Catalog of Feature Films 1893-1993: Sit Tight
  3. ^ Montreal Guardian (April 24, 1931)
  4. ^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress, (<-book title), p.167 c.1978 by The American Film Institute

External linksEdit