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The Bakery (1921)

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Well-meaning but accident-prone bakery employee Larry is involved in numerous slapstick mishaps on the job. After accidentally causing the bakery owner to fall into a vat of cake batter ... See full summary »

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Title: The Bakery (1921)

The Bakery (1921) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Cast overview:
Larry, a Bakery Clerk
Foreman (as Babe Hardy)
Frank Alexander ...
Bakery Owner
Norma Nichols ...
Bakery Owner's Daughter
William Hauber ...
Rival worker (as Bill Hauber)
Grover Ligon ...
Bakery worker
Eva Thatcher ...
Pete Gordon ...
Bakery worker


Well-meaning but accident-prone bakery employee Larry is involved in numerous slapstick mishaps on the job. After accidentally causing the bakery owner to fall into a vat of cake batter Larry finds his job in jeopardy, but he redeems himself by foiling a robbery planned by the bakery foreman. Written by Peter W. Many, Jr. (PMSusana)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cake | two reeler | See All (2) »


Comedy | Short





Release Date:

20 June 1921 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Mann, der die Backpfeifen gab  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Is that you, Josephine?
26 June 2007 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

Larry Semon made 'The Bakery' during the phase of his career when he was trying to be Chaplinesque. We see him here in the titular bakery as the general dogsbody, just as Chaplin was employed in various workplaces in several of his Essanay and Keystone comedies (notably 'Dough and Dynamite', also set in a bakery). And here, as in several of Semon's other comedies from this period, Oliver Hardy is cast as a villain very much in the mould of the characters played by Eric Campbell in Chaplin's comedies for Mutual. In 'The Bakery', Hardy is even wearing bushy eyebrows and a moustache that make him resemble Campbell in 'The Adventurer'.

For once, Semon makes a distinctive entrance. We first see his character only from below the waist, the upper half of his body concealed beneath the stack of parcels he's carrying. Only after he stumbles through a trap door do we see his face: one of the most naturally comic faces in all of silent films. Too bad that Semon's comedic inventiveness never caught up with his appearance.

Some of Chaplin's short comedies got a great deal of comic mileage out of one unusual prop; notably the escalator in 'The Floorwalker'. In 'The Bakery', Semon gets impressive mileage out of a rotating pillar of shelves, each shelf containing a different cake. Semon spins the pillar so that its protruding sign spins round and hits Hardy in the back of the head. Then Hardy chases Semon round the pillar, prompting Semon to take the natural (and very Chaplin-like) lurk of riding the pillar while it revolves, so that he can relax while Hardy pursues him.

There's even a Chaplinesque plot line here, with a shortage in the bakery's books. I expected Hardy, as the villain, to be the culprit here ... and was surprised when things went otherwise. Elsewhere, there's a Prohibition gag involving a bottle labelled 'Home Brew'. (Which makes as much sense as a bag of cocaine marked 'Cocaine'.) I'll give a good-sport award to actress Eva Thatcher for a sequence in which a mouse climbs into her clothing; too bad the routine isn't funny.

The real mystery of this Semon short is the brief but virtuoso performance by a trained monkey. This monkey looks exactly like Josephine, the monkey who gave such remarkable performances in Harold Lloyd's 'The Kid Brother' and Buster Keaton's 'The Cameraman'. But those movies were six and seven years after 'The Bakery' ... is it possible that Josephine's movie career lasted for so long? I'm absolutely certain that this is the same monkey; I wish I could verify it.

'The Bakery' is well above Larry Semon's average, largely due to the fact that for most of its length he's emulating Chaplin's brand of comedy. Unfortunately, by the end of this short movie, Larry Semon has reverted to his true nature, and we get one of those wildly implausible Semon gag sequences: this one involving a ladder that manages to tip its occupants into ladies' bathrooms and other inconvenient places, in a manner that's too implausible to be funny. There's too much cakery fakery in 'The Bakery', but at least it's concentrated into the last 300 feet or so of this short movie. I'll rate 'The Bakery' 6 out of 10, much higher than I'd usually rate a Semon film.

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