skip navigation
Hold That Line

Hold That Line(1952)

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here

Remind Me

TCMDb Archive MaterialsView all archives (0)


powered by AFI

At the alumni club of patrician Ivy University, businessman Morgan T. Stanhope argues that only students with "blue blood" can succeed at the college, while his old friend, A. J. Billingsley, declares that any student who tries hard, regardless of his background, can thrive. Stanhope agrees to wager a new addition for the chemistry building on the dispute, providing he is allowed to choose the students in question. The two stroll through town, and upon spotting The Bowery Boys piling out of their jalopy and into Louie Dumbrowski's malt shop, Stanhope announces to the horrified Billingsley that he has found his test subjects. In the shop, gang leader Terence Aloysius "Slip" Mahoney and his pals, bumbler Horace Debussy "Sach" Jones, Junior, Chuck and Butch, have just discovered that Louie needs $1,500 to bring his brother Morris' family to America. Therefore, when Stanhope and Billingsley enter and offer the boys tuition and a $1,500 bonus, although the gang is eager to avoid the hard work that college entails, they accept in order to give the bonus money to Louie. At the campus, Dean Forrester is appalled to learn that his benefactors have chosen such poor specimens for their experiment, but he agrees to let the boys matriculate. Outside, All-American football star Biff Wallace, his pal Harold and their girl friends, Katie Wayne and Penny Wells, greet the rowdy boys with equal amounts of amusement and dismay. Later, in chemistry class, Sach tries to formulate a miracle medicine but, on learning that he has instead mixed a batch of TNT, throws the potion out the window, where it explodes onto Forrester. As a result, the boys are threatened with expulsion, but Billingsley convinces the dean to give them one more chance. Sach returns to the chemistry lab and this time concocts a potion that gives him almost super-human strength. When he then joins the boys on the gym field, he shocks the coach with his physical prowess and is immediately named the new track and field star. Sach's subsequent status as campus idol angers Biff, especially after the boys join football practice and Sach easily flattens his competition. Slip notices that his friend's sudden might is waning, and when he learns about Sach's "vitamin" potion, he worries that Sach will not be able to repeat the formula. With this in mind, he shields Sach from contact with Biff, but accepts Harold's offer for the boys to pledge their fraternity. Biff devises embarrassing hazing rituals for the group, forcing them to dress as women and parade down the street into Louie's shop. Soon after, Louie decides to join the boys on campus, and proves a huge hit with the co-eds. Over the semester, Sach manages to repeat his potion and, under the nickname "Hurricane Jones," leads the football team to a victorious season, which is to culminate in a match against their rival school, State. Just before the game, however, crooked gambler Mike Donelli realizes that if he can remove Sach from the game at the last minute, he can make a fortune by betting on State. He sends his girl friend, Candy Calin, to ask Biff to introduce her to Sach. Biff, hoping to regain some of his former glory, agrees, and Candy easily lures Sach to her apartment. There, Mike and his goon, Big Dave, knock out Sach and then drug him. The game begins, and although the school laments Sach's disappearance, Biff leads the team admirably. Unfortunately, Biff is injured toward the end of the game, and when Slip congratulates him on the sidelines, a guilt-stricken Biff confesses that Sach is being held at Candy's. The boys call the police and rush to the apartment, but although the gamblers are arrested, Sach cannot be awoken. They bring him back to the locker room and Slip attempts to duplicate the "vitamin" potion, which he offers to the dean to try. Forrester immediately shrinks to two feet tall, after which he once again threatens to expel the group. Sach finally revives, but with no time left to mix up a new potion, the boys take to the football field without special powers. Luckily, Slip takes control and confuses State with a series of backfield maneuvers, allowing him to run down the field unnoticed. He almost fails to make the touchdown when he bangs his head on the goal post, but the other team shoves him over the line accidentally, and Ivy wins the pennant. Later, back in the chemistry lab, Sach mixes a concoction that he vows will allow him to fly. When he jumps out the window, the gang is aghast until they realize that he has once again succeeded.