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Are Crooks Dishonest? (1918)

Con artists Harold and Snub attempt to outwit phony psychic Miss Goulash and her "professor" father.

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(as Gil Pratt)
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Harold
...
Miss Goulash
...
Snub (as Harry Pollard)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sammy Brooks
William Gillespie
...
Old lady in park
Lew Harvey
Gus Leonard ...
Old man in park
Charles Stevenson ...
(as C.E. Stevenson)
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Storyline

Miss Goulash has just finished conducting a séance at the Mystic Temple, so she and her father decide to take a walk to the park. Meanwhile, two con men are in the park, playing a confidence game with the use of fake jewelry. They succeed in conning Professor Goulash and several other targets. But when they try their trick on Miss Goulash, she becomes suspicious. She soon tricks them out of their money, and gets them pursued by the police. When the con men try to elude a police officer by hiding in the Mystic Temple, they soon find themselves in another battle of wits with Miss Goulash. Written by Snow Leopard

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Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Release Date:

23 June 1918 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Passez muscade  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Here's what happens when an All-American Good Guy goes bad
28 February 2006 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

Viewers familiar with Harold Lloyd's great comedies of the 1920s may find Are Crooks Dishonest? somewhat startling, for in this early short our hero plays a role quite different from the all-American go-getter we remember from the later masterworks. Once he'd established his "glass character" Harold was always a good guy; often clumsy, a little naughty on occasion, less than perfect certainly, but unfailingly honest and law-abiding. Early on, however, it seems he wasn't always so well behaved. Are Crooks Dishonest? is the sort of comedy where the main characters are con artists and the humor comes in watching the cons attempt to out-con each other. The biggest surprise is that Harold himself plays a con man who is just as crooked as any rogue ever portrayed by W.C. Fields.

Harold works in tandem with his frequent co-star in these early films, Snub Pollard. We know from their first entrance that the guys are crooks: they emerge from shrubbery in a park, spot an approaching cop, and quickly slip back into the shrubbery until he's gone. Harold and Snub run a scam in which they trick strangers into buying worthless jewelry; Harold even carries their stock in a box conveniently labeled "Phoney Jewelry Co." Meanwhile, dark-eyed vamp Bebe Daniels, dressed in exotic finery, bilks the suckers by reading palms and telling fortunes under the name of Miss Goulash in the nearby Mystic Temple, a groovy-looking command post for shady doings that she shares with her cohort, "Professor" Goulash. (It's unclear whether the professor is Bebe's father, husband, boyfriend, or merely her partner in crime.) The Mystic Temple is tarted up with lots of Halloween-like decor -- bats, black cats, skulls, etc. -- and also offers the requisite sliding panels in the walls. Our story, such as it is, concerns the collision of the Harold & Snub partnership vs. the Goulash duo, as these crooks repeatedly scam each other out of ill-gotten gain. That's the gist of it, plus you get a rare opportunity to see Snub Pollard in drag. (Yuck!)

Sure doesn't sound like a typical Harold Lloyd comedy, does it? Are Crooks Dishonest? isn't exactly a laugh riot, but it's off-beat and amusing, and the sheer novelty of the thing is refreshing, especially for fans who've seen Harold's more characteristic works. It surely must have been fun for Bebe Daniels to play such a jaded, worldly con artiste, a far more colorful assignment than her usual roles in these comedies. She's a treat to watch, and looks a helluva lot better in that gypsy outfit than Snub Pollard does.


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