Psychiatrist Dr. Ulrich Metz attempts to drive Daniel Brown to suicide.

Director:

Writer:

(scenario) (as T.J.G.)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An American who has lived much of his life outside the country returns to Arizona for the first time in years and encounters villainy.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Ruth Renick, Wallace Beery
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Wealthy Jervis Pendleton acts as benefactor for orphan Judy Abbott, anonymously sponsoring her in her boarding school. But as she grows up, he finds himself falling in love with her, and ... See full summary »

Director: Marshall Neilan
Stars: Mary Pickford, Milla Davenport, Percy Haswell
Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Director: Joseph Henabery
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Marjorie Daw, Frank Campeau
Captain Blood (1935)
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An enslaved doctor and his comrades in chains escape and become pirates of the Caribbean.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Lionel Atwill
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young man can only get the woman he loves if he becomes famous and manages to get his picture in the newspapers. He determines to let nothing stand in the way of his doing exactly that, ... See full summary »

Director: John Emerson
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Clarence Handyside, Rene Boucicault
Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In the midst of an emotional depression, a man hires a murderer to kill him. But the despair soon passes, and the man must now escape the killer he's hired to end his life.

Director: Christy Cabanne
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Jewel Carmen, Howard Gaye
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A seemingly idiotic fop is really the courageous vigilante Zorro, who seeks to protect the oppressed.

Director: Fred Niblo
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Marguerite De La Motte, Robert McKim
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The young Gascon D'Artagnan arrives in Paris, his heart set on joining the king's Musketeers. He is taken under the wings of three of the most respected and feared Musketeers, Porthos, ... See full summary »

Director: Fred Niblo
Stars: Adolphe Menjou, Mary MacLaren, Nigel De Brulier
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young couple attempts to elope, with the bride's irate father in hot pursuit. The train stops briefly and the young man dashes off to find a minister, but before he can get himself and ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Powell
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Constance Talmadge, Wilbur Higby
Adventure | Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A restless young man travels west, encountering adventure, romance, and danger.

Director: Allan Dwan
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Marjorie Daw, Kathleen Kirkham
The Nut I (1921)
Action | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Eccentric inventor Charlie Jackson tries to interest wealthy investors in his girlfriend's plan to help children from poor neighborhoods.

Director: Theodore Reed
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Marguerite De La Motte, William Lowery
Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A factory worker has always dreamed that he was meant for better things, to be rich and famous and in "the company of kings". One day he discovers that he is indeed the only heir to the ... See full summary »

Director: John Emerson
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks, Eileen Percy, Richard Cummings
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
...
Daniel Boone Brown
Albert MacQuarrie ...
Hobson
...
Lucette Bancroft
Frank Campeau ...
Mark Drake
Ralph Lewis ...
Curtis Brown
Herbert Grimwood ...
Dr. Ulrich Metz
Daisy Jefferson ...
Bobby De Vere
Bull Montana ...
The Nightmare
Victor Fleming ...
Himself
Thomas J. Geraghty ...
Himself (as T.J.G.)
William C. McGann ...
Himself
Harris Thorpe ...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

The comfortable and amiable Daniel Boone Brown, a resident of New York's water front, becomes the victim of a mad scientist's psychological experiments. For days, Dr. Ulrich Metz messes up Daniel's life, bringing on failing health, restless sleep, a nervous and irritable disposition, tardiness for work, and superstitions that cause worry and fear. Several months into the ordeal, one of Metz's minions, hired as Daniel's livery, feeds him a midnight snack of spring onions, lobster, Welsh rarebit and mince pie. We see the contents of his stomach causing pain and distress; then he has vivid and surreal nightmares. Will Metz succeed in driving Daniel to suicide? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Romance

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 December 1919 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cheer Up  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(color toned)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Directorial debut of Victor Fleming. See more »

Crazy Credits

Louis Weadon's name is handwritten. See more »

Connections

Featured in Birth of Hollywood: Episode #1.3 (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of the forgotten gems of the silent era
16 July 2006 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

It's a mystery why this delightful silent feature isn't better known and more widely appreciated. I've seen several of the comedies Douglas Fairbanks made prior to his switchover to swashbucklers and they're all great fun, but for my money When the Clouds Roll By is the best of the lot: it's funny, fast-paced, action-packed and highly original. To call it "original" is quite an understatement; this movie is absolutely off the wall and constantly surprising, even for buffs. The plot is convoluted enough to keep you guessing, and just when you think you know what's going to happen next, the filmmakers throw you another curve-ball. Speaking of originality, it's worth pointing out that a number of gags and bits of business found here were borrowed by others and used again in later years, so while this movie proved to be a rich source of inspiration for Fairbanks' colleagues who saw it in 1919, the source material itself seems to have been largely forgotten.

Much of the comedy derives from the screenplay's satirical jabs at the still new field of psychology. Doug plays a good-natured young man who is harshly victimized by a sinister psychologist named Metz, who lives nearby. Why the doctor has chosen to treat Doug worse than Pavlov's dog isn't explained until late in the story (and I won't reveal it here), but let it suffice to say that Doug is subjected to a distressing series of "Gaslight"-style mental manipulations intended to convince him that he's losing his mind. The evil Dr. Metz even contrives to invade the world of Doug's dreams by controlling his diet, and the ensuing nightmare is a surreal cinematic highlight, combining such techniques as slow motion, double-exposure, and the very same "wall-walking" stunt Fred Astaire would employ in Royal Wedding in 1951, performed more elaborately in this early rendition. The dream sequence begins inside Doug's body, where we witness a battle between the foodstuffs he's been eating at Metz' behest: an onion, a lobster, Welsh rarebit, a slice of mince pie, etc., each represented by actors dressed in the appropriate costume. They duke it out on a "stomach" stage set, an effect that is both bizarre and hilarious, and a throwback to the early cinematic style of Edwin S. Porter's Dream of a Rarebit Fiend, or the trick films of Georges Méliès. We're reminded of early cinema again later when our hero reaches a crisis and thinks he's finally lost his mind for real; the title card tells us that Doug's Reason is Tottering on Her Throne and his Sense of Humor has been defeated, while his mind is being assailed by Worry and Despair. This struggle is then enacted before our eyes by performers representing these traits, like some kind of Medieval morality pageant.

These quirky comic sequences are a real highlight, but meanwhile there's an earthbound plot involving Doug's relationship with a girl, his conflict with the girl's former suitor (a vulgar crook), and a scheme by the crook to defraud the girl's father. This story-line is more conventional, but greatly boosted by the surrounding craziness and further enhanced by a series of genuinely funny title cards that maintain just the right level of breezy insouciance. There's also a cute series of running gags concerning superstitions that both Doug and the girl believe in, not only still-familiar beliefs involving black cats, ladders, and the number 13, but also more obscure notions involving dropped knives and opal rings. The plot culminates in an impressive storm sequence combining miniature sets with large-scale action, all of which may remind buffs of the finale of Buster Keaton's classic Steamboat Bill, Jr. of 1928. Buster didn't use miniatures, but it looks like he and his crew might have borrowed a gag or two from Doug!

I was fortunate enough to see this film at a recent public screening at the Museum of the City of New York. There was much laughter throughout, and afterward a lot of people were saying "Why haven't I heard of this movie before?" Clearly, this is a silent comedy that deserves to be better known, a movie that cries out for full restoration, more public screenings, broadcasts on TCM and a DVD release.

P.S. December 2008: I'm pleased to add that this film is now available in the newly released Fairbanks DVD box set. Many thanks to the folks responsible!


12 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
2010 Alpha DVD jesse-macleod
What about the Wonders of Fleming's Work? IMDBcinephile
Discuss When the Clouds Roll by (1919) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?