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How Baxter Butted In (1925)

 |  Comedy  |  25 July 1925 (USA)
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Poor Henry Baxter, a lowly clerk in a newspaper office, is in love with Beulah, the beautiful office stenographer, but Beulah barely knows he exists. As if Henry's unrequited love isn't bad... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Matt Moore ...
Henry Baxter
Ward Crane ...
Walter Higgins
Wilfred Lucas ...
R.S. Falk
Adda Gleason ...
Emmy Baxter
Turner Savage ...
Jimmy Baxter
Virginia Marshall ...
Mary Baxter
Otis Harlan ...
Amos Nichols
Cameo the Dog ...
Cameo the Dog
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Storyline

Poor Henry Baxter, a lowly clerk in a newspaper office, is in love with Beulah, the beautiful office stenographer, but Beulah barely knows he exists. As if Henry's unrequited love isn't bad enough, he has to put up with office manager Higgins, a devious bully who is Henry's constant nemesis. Unable to win the lovely Beulah on his own, Henry resorts to flights of fantasy where he gets to play the hero, win Beulah and vanquish the evil Higgins. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Comedy

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25 July 1925 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This film is presumed lost. In the late 1949s and 1950s, Warner Bros. destroyed many of its negatives due to nitrate film decomposition. Studio records indicate that the negative of filmography pre-1931 was marked "Junked 12/27/48" (December 27, 1948) or in February 1956, Warner Bros. chief Jack L. Warner sold the rights to all of his pre-December 1949 films to Associated Artists Productions. Please check your attic. See more »

Connections

Version of The Great Mr. Nobody (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The first Walter Mitty.
14 March 2005 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

'How Baxter Butted In' is a delightful comedy, featuring a daydreaming hero astonishingly similar to James Thurber's immortal creation Walter Mitty. Both men are overworked nobodies in their workaday lives, yet both are many-sided heroes in their fantasy worlds. The similarity between Walter Mitty and this film's protagonist Henry Baxter is so strong, I wonder if Thurber had seen this movie (his eyesight had not yet failed him by 1925) or had read the story by Harold Titus on which this film was based.

Henry Baxter (very well played by Matt Moore) is an accounts clerk at a newspaper office. He has a crush on the office's pretty stenographer Beulah (despite her hideous name), but she barely knows he's alive. Baxter's milquetoast existence is made more miserable by office manager Higgins, who bullies him constantly and steals Baxter's ideas. Overworked underpaid Baxter is the sole support of his widowed sister-in-law Emmy and her two small children.

As in Thurber's famous story, much of the comedy in this very funny movie derives from the extreme contrast between the hero's dull put-upon reality and his heroic fantasies ... as well as the transitions between his two worlds. When Baxter sits down to a bland meal of a soda cracker floating in a bowl of milk, the camera shows the floating cracker in tight close-up ... then neatly dissolves to a shot of a raft in mid-ocean, with Baxter and Beulah and Higgins as castaways on the raft. Of course, in this daydream and all his others, Baxter always triumphs over rival Higgins, and wins the girl.

The director of this film is William Beaudine, a notorious hack who is better known for such deathless epics as 'Billy the Kid versus Dracula' and 'Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla'. Those cheesily enjoyable crapfests are more typical of Beaudine's output than 'How Baxter Butted In'. I suspect that the excellence of this film, and its visual gimmicks, are largely down to the work of screenwriter Owen Davis.

Matt Moore is impressive in the lead role, all the more so because he is physically miscast. Henry Baxter should have been played by a meek little man like Johnny Arthur or George K Arthur or George E Stone. I wouldn't precisely call Moore brawny, but he's clearly capable of defending himself in a fight, and that compromises his characterisation here. Prolific character actor Otis Harlan is very good as Baxter's pal.

Very impressive indeed is the performance by tall handsome Ward Crane as the villainous Higgins. Crane is best known as Buster Keaton's crooked rival in 'Sherlock Jnr'. Here, he plays a similar role, but with more depth and much more screen time. Watching him here, I regret that Crane (who died young) never had a significant acting career. (Ironically, he died of pneumonia at a sanitarium for patients with tuberculosis: he had the wrong disease.) I'll rate 'How Baxter Butted In' 9 points out of 10. I might have rated it a perfect 10 if the heroine's name wasn't Beulah. Ugh!


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