Luke’s Movie Muddle
Not the studio but the motion picture theater run by Luke at all posts save the projection booth where Snub Pollard tangles the film or dozes or overcranks or cooks his lunch on the hot lamp.
Hats, talkers, last-minute piano-tuning, Bebe Daniels’ boyfriend and a burning rube, all the major inconveniences.
Why Pick on Me
If it isn’t the lifeguard and his pals picking up the bathing beauties, or Snub Pollard and his fat wife, it’s the hefty banker making overtures to Bebe Daniels that ruins Harold Lloyd’s day at the beach.
A really magnificent joke.
The title is what she says if asked, he’s the busiest of businessmen, impossible to see.
Bunyan’s knight finally storms his office, she’s leaving with her new husband and a message for father and incidentally the boy, who meets a girl there without a father since childhood, if asked.
A Sammy in Siberia
The Bolshevik uprising is summed up in a band of bearded brigands storming a woodcutter’s house, Lloyd is a lackadaisical soldier at the American outpost and single-handedly saves the day in snowy Siberia, winning the woodcutter’s daughter.
A Jazzed Honeymoon
Wherein the groom on his bridal cruise is forced by circumstances to stoke the boilers.
Get Out and Get Under
Lloyd’s virtuosic car ride from home to theater for an amateur production in which he is to play the Masked Prince.
At the start he’s in love and having his picture taken, too late, she’s being married at that moment, only a nightmare.
She wakes him up on the telephone, he dashes to the theater, first he unveils his shiny flivver kept heated all night in his garage. The camera is at a slight angle outside, one garage door starts closing twice, he steps out and adjusts it each time, then the other, finally he gets it in gear and backs out through the garage wall into his neighbor’s vegetable garden, not a scratch to the car.
And so forth, blindly, vainly, heroically, until he is just in time to take a curtain call in mask and plumed hat, and drive off with the girl.
On the Loose
The girl racket, seen from the inside.
Every pair of red-blooded males in 48 states has taken ZaSu Pitts and Thelma Todd to Coney Island, the girls are sore, tired and bruised.
An Englishman (John Loder) leads to Pierre the couturier (Billy Gilbert), who’s a New Yorker with a smooth line in ladies’ clothing.
Double-date with Claud Allister, sore, tired and bruised.
Somewhere in the middle, striking an unacceptable bargain and literally half-English, Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy.
It’s rather amazing that this film has so little reputation nowadays, when it’s an incomparable farce (except to Andrew L. Stone’s Hi Diddle Diddle, for example). In a way it’s the crown of Depression screwball, and another response to John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath (like Sullivan’s Travels and Meet John Doe).
Structural thinking like this comes from Shakespeare by way of My Man Godfrey. Drogo checks into an asylum to escape his responsibilities, meets a man out of You Can’t Take It with You, they bust out and hold a circus on the family property to raise money for charity.
That’s the way Roach imagines the dilemma of the time, frozen snobbism wrecking the whole shebang with its worthless ambition, which is why Menjou at the manse offers Willie Best the run of the chicken coop and the melon patch.
Best is a roustabout, and so are The Charioteers, who sing the Hoagy Carmichael tune, “Calliope Jane” (“put on your bon-net, and bloop a-gain, / ‘cause when you go BLOOP-BLOOP, you bloop a-l-l-l-l-l my cares a-way”).
You get something of this in Blake Edwards’ The Party, and Clint Eastwood makes great use of the material in Bronco Billy.