I screened a print of 'The Guttersnipe' that had a reel missing, so I missed an important plot point ... or maybe this movie's script just didn't bother to resolve it properly. The story appears to take place in the United States, but the main character works as a chambermaid for an English milady (Carmen Phillips) and a milord (Edward Cecil). Or maybe this is just one of her fantasies ... because the heroine of this movie is a female Walter Mitty, prone to flights of fantasy.
Mazie O'Day (played by Gladys Walton) is a prole young woman who is addicted to the tales in a pulp magazine cried 'Sloppy Stories'. She models herself after the (unrealistic) heroines in this magazine's pages, and she consults the stories before making decisions in her own life. As in Harold Lloyd's 'Girl Shy', which featured frequent cuts to the text of a book written by Lloyd's character in that film, here the audience are repeatedly subjected to insert shots of the (intentionally) wretched prose in the stories that Mazie reads. She fantasises that she will one day meet a handsome wealthy nobleman who will take her away from her squalor.
Meanwhile, in reality (I think), Mazie toils as a lady's maid, combing the long raven tresses of Lady Clarissa. I'm usually a sucker for any movie in which a woman in a maid's uniform tends the hair or clothing of her mistress. Unfortunately, Gladys Walton isn't very good-looking (nor a very good actress) and she wears in this movie one of the most unattractive maid's uniforms I've ever seen.
One night, returning home to the slum walk-up where she lives with her parents (Walter Perry and the excellent Kate Price), Mazie encounters some hooligans attacking a top-hatted gentleman. Just like in the pulp stories! Mazie consults the latest issue of 'Sloppy Stories' and decides that she must intercede. She rushes into the fray, and uses her long fingernails to repel the ruffians.
SPOILERS COMING. Unfortunately, it turns out that the top-hatted toff is merely a soda jerk (Jack Perrin) returning from a fancy-dress party. However, Mazie and Tom (that's his name) are swiftly attracted to each other.
But then Tom gets arrested for passing counterfeit money. He's innocent, naturally, but he can't prove it. Mazie consults her pulp magazines, and decides that (of course) she must personally track the counterfeiters to their lair and force them to confess.
There's an exciting but implausible climax as Mazie sets out to round up the counterfeiters single-handed. Despite the missing reel, I saw enough of this movie to realise that it isn't very good. Since this is a comedy, I was willing to overlook the plot's implausibilities in exchange for some good laughs ... but the comedy wasn't very funny. Part of the problem with this movie is the leads: Gladys Walton and Jack Perrin are not particularly attractive here, and neither of them is a particularly good screen actor. My rating for 'The Guttersnipe' is just 4 out of 10.
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