7.2/10
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No Father to Guide Him (1925)

Charley's battle-axe mother-in-law breaks up his marriage and tries to separate him from his son. Charlie abducts the boy for a father-son outing to the beach. The mother-in-law pursues and comedy ensues.

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Cast

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Jimmy Jump
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Jimmy's Wife
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The Jump Son
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Jimmy's Mother-in-Law
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The Lifeguard
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Storyline

Charley's battle-axe mother-in-law breaks up his marriage and tries to separate him from his son. Charlie abducts the boy for a father-son outing to the beach. The mother-in-law pursues and comedy ensues.

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Comedy | Short

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Release Date:

6 September 1925 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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No Pants to Wear
11 September 2009 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Another fine Charley Chase comedy from just before he really hit his stride in 1926. Charley has been separated from his wife by his battle-axe of a mother, but the real bone of contention is his son, with whom he wants to spend time. The two manage to sneak off to the beach, where Charley loses his trunks in the main gag sequence. The three acts are a bit less structured than in Chase's best works, but there are lots of things to interest the movie-goers, including the typical Leo McCarey showing-things-by-onlooker's reactions gag: when Charley is stripped naked -- behind a shack -- onlookers rush off is terror, as they would in PUTTING PANTS ON PHILLIP.

I spot various subtle emasculation symbols that support the major thesis and story arc. When we first see Charley, he is wearing a World War I tin helmet -- it turned out he is not a soldier, but a milkman, and the purpose of the tin helmet becomes apparent when a woman takes him for a burglar and tries to clobber him with a rolling pin. But the helmet is protection -- and later, when he pours milk out of it, it starts to become apparent that McCarey is operating, once again, on a symbolic as well as a practical level.

Charley is deprived of his wife and son..... Charley loses his pants.... Charley is forced to dress in a woman's robe to get out of the water until the shot where the robe is stripped off him and he is --discreetly, from the moviegoer's viewpoint -- revealed as a naked man.... and he starts to take back control of his son and wife.

McCarey experimented with these sexual symbols in a few of the Chase two-reelers, and there are hints of foot fetishism elsewhere. Whether anyone really noticed at the time or it is all in my own sick mind... well, take a look for yourself.


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