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He Did and He Didn't (I) (1916)

 -  Short | Comedy | Drama  -  30 January 1916 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 153 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 3 critic

A doctor irrationally suspects his wife is carrying on an affair with her childhood friend.

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(as Roscoe Arbuckle)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
The Doctor (as Roscoe Arbuckle)
...
The Doctor's Wife
William Jefferson ...
The Wife's Schoolmate (as Wm. Jefferson)
Al St. John ...
The Bounding Burglar
Joe Bordeaux ...
The Burglar's Accomplice
Lloyd Peddrick ...
The Butler
Jimmy Bryant ...
The Burglar's Second Accomplice
Gilbert Ely ...
The Cop
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Storyline

A doctor, very much in love with his beautiful wife, comes to suspect that her visiting childhood friend Jack is more than just a friend. Jack's intentions are honorable, but everything he does tends to show his actions in a suspicious light, especially when burglars invade the house and Jack and the wife are caught together in their nightclothes. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

repetition in title

Genres:

Short | Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

TV-G
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 January 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Love and Lobsters  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print) (2005)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Connections

Featured in Hollywood: Single Beds and Double Standards (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lobsters and mobsters, but Roscoe is un-shellfish.
22 April 2006 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

Several of Roscoe Arbuckle's films have titles which became cruelly ironic in the hindsight of his 1921 trial for manslaughter: notably 'The Life of the Party' and this two-reeler, 'He Did and He Didn't'. There's a famous photograph of Arbuckle in evening dress, gaping in horror as he drops Mabel Normand down a staircase. That photo is a publicity still from 'He Did and He Didn't', though it doesn't actually correspond to any scene in the film as it now exists.

Arbuckle rose to film stardom playing boobs, rubes and bumpkins. By 1916, he had autonomy over his own films and was able to impose some tastefulness. Here, he plays a dignified and wealthy suburban doctor, in a loving marriage to Normand. But then Jack, her handsome beau from high-school days, arrives. There are no 'fat boy' jokes here. Instead, Arbuckle uses underplayed and sensitive acting to compare himself unfavourably to the leaner and manlier Jack. It's clear that Arbuckle's character loves his wife deeply but is (in some unspoken manner) unable to satisfy her, possibly down to sexual impotence. When Jack arrives to stay the weekend, the three of them sit down to a dinner of lobsters -- allegedly a male aphrodisiac -- prompting Mabel to comment that they'll all likely have nightmares.

SPOILERS COMING. Arbuckle (in a car with right-hand drive) is lured to a remote location on a ruse, so that he'll be away when burglars invade his house. It's up to Jack to defend the fair Mabel. Arbuckle returns home, distraught, and then -- believing that his wife has cuckolded him -- he calmly strangles her. This scene is immensely disturbing in its own right, and even more disturbing in the light of Arbuckle's real-life tragedy a few years later.

The payoff: remember those lobsters? Sure enough, it WAS all a nightmare ... and Mabel has remained faithful to her husband. There's a good performance by Rube Miller as Arbuckle's saturnine butler, and Al St John's tumbling skills get a protracted showcase here. 'He Did and He Didn't' is an astonishing film: quite removed from the lowbrow slapstick of Arbuckle's early Keystone efforts, yet still extremely funny. Watching this movie, I deeply regret that Arbuckle's career was so tragically and unfairly terminated just as he was nearing the heights of his talents. I'll rate this fine funny movie 10 out of 10.


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