Larry, apparently a wealthy young man-about-town, romances Vera, who has developed a new invention, a gas mask, for use in the war. Larry leaves Vera's house unaware that German spies are ... See full summary »
Two convicts (Laurel & Hardy), in an escape attempt, tunnel into the warden's office, instead. They then disguise themselves as painters and walk out the front gate. Needing new clothes, ... See full summary »
Over all, this is a pretty good movie for Semon. Which, for me, is damning with faint praise.
The story is that Stan Laurel was so good in the first half of their first movie together -- usually said to be FRAUDS AND FRENZIES -- that Larry Semon the star/director/producer of the Vitagraph comedy division had him fired off the set so that people would not notice how good Stan was and how bad Semon was. In actuality, Stan was in three Semon comedies, in each of which he got substantial roles. He bounced around a lot in those years, working at half a dozen studios in front of the camera, before retreating behind the camera, where he seems to have really learned his movie craft.
But this is a Semon comedy about the Hatfield-McCoy feud. It was a popular subject for decades, and Larry Semon is in charge, so he gets all the best gags himself -- the best, in this case, is one he does with a clay pipe. But Semon had not turned into the cinematic egomaniac he would become, so there's still some room for the supporting comics like Stan and Frank Alexander -- Alexander would stay with Semon for another six years. And to show his generosity, Semon *does* give the bear top billing in the title. Which for Semon was a major concession.
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