The second filmed version of the hit musical comedy that was originally performed on the London stage, while World War I was still raging, in 1917. It ran for 811 performances. See more »
Von Kirsh, German Brigadier General:
Telephone the front line trenches to stand by for my signed orders.
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There was no cast list per se. Some actors were credited by intertitles when they first appeared. Syd Chaplin was credited above the title and his full character name was supplied in an intertitle. See more »
Due to his legendary younger brother people have forgotten the work of Syd Chaplin. Forgotten is that this guy form the comedy genre and pretty much formed his younger brother Charles. This film here is yet another forgotten one but is slightly remembered for being Warner's second feature film to have the Vitaphone sound. The film, based on newspaper cartoon characters, features Syd as 'Old Bill', a legendary figure fighting in WW1 who constantly finds himself battling an uphill fight. This is a rather strange comedy because the film remains highly entertaining even though there's not a single laugh to be found it in. All of the jokes aren't what I'd call funny but they are amusing in some weird way and in the end the film really isn't too bad. The Vitaphone sound includes various sound effects, a couple whispered words and that's about it but I was surprised at how well it all sounded considering this technology was under a year old. Several of the gags are based around these sound effects and there are a couple unique ones including a scene where a bomb goes off in a barn and Syd finds himself covered with hay. There's also a very long sequence dealing with Syd and his buddy getting into a cow outfit and causing all sorts of trouble. I was also surprised at how big the budget was on this thing because the war scenes look top notch and all the costume detail is top notch. Even with that said, the comedy just doesn't come off as funny but for fans of early sound cinema this is worth viewing at least once.
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