Charley is afraid of dogs, and one chases him into a phone box, which a stuffy aristocrat has just left to get more change, to continue the phone call with his fiancée, who is being forced ... See full summary »
Charley is afraid of dogs, and one chases him into a phone box, which a stuffy aristocrat has just left to get more change, to continue the phone call with his fiancée, who is being forced by her parents to marry him. Charley agrees to help the girl, and is mistakenly hired as a butler at the same house. That evening, there's a big party at the house, and he has to find out which of the 20 girls there is the right one. The moment, he finds her, he gets the order to bathe the Duke, her dog, but he thinks she's talking about the future son-in-law... Meanwhile, the father, fed up with the aggressive dog, gives another domestic the order to get rid of the dog at midnight, when he hears him howling like a dog, the dog will be thrown by him out of the window. The aristocratic fiancée is in reality a crook, and is going to throw the safe out of the window, his partner in crime shall be prepared, when he hears him howling like a dog at midnight. Charley tells the girl that he will be ready ... Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
A snappy little farce comedy with a great role for Buddy
It's really gratifying to know that the work of Charley Chase is so much more accessible now than it was just a few years ago. Through the VCR era of the 1980s and '90s the vast majority of his movies never found their way into any decent video release, but the DVD era has been a lot kinder to Mr. Chase -- and to his fans. Several of Charley's funniest shorts have turned up in Image Entertainment's "Lost Films of Laurel & Hardy" set, and more recently Kino has put out two well-produced discs devoted entirely to Charley's own starring comedies made for the Hal Roach Studio during his heyday, the mid-1920s. Dog Shy is included on Volume 2 of the Kino series, and is one of the most enjoyable entries, a pleasant situation comedy that builds in momentum as it goes along, cleverly plotted, briskly paced and full of good gags.
Our leading lady (Mildred June) is being pressured by her parents to marry an icky-looking "nobleman." Charley, who has fallen in love with her strictly based on the sound of her telephone voice, comes to her aid by posing as her family's new butler. While playing this role during a house-party he finds The Girl at last; they quickly hit it off and plan to elope, but meanwhile he must perform some rather unpleasant duties such as bathing Madame's dog, known as The Duke. (It's already been established that Charley is one of those people who has problems with dogs.) One of the comic high points comes when Charley misunderstands his employer's instructions and believes he must bathe the OTHER Duke, i.e. the nobleman who is courting his girl. While this guy attempts to relate an anecdote to several party guests Charley interrupts and pantomimes that he must go upstairs and take a bath; the nobleman, naturally enough, is alarmed about just what activity Charley has in mind. Ultimately, the mix-up is straightened out and Charley attempts to bathe the pooch, but gets wetter, if not cleaner, than the dog. The climax involves several occupants of the house all hatching secret, simultaneous plots which become confusingly entangled, and dashing around the household at midnight in much confusion. I was reminded of a line from another Hal Roach comedy made around this time: "Anything might have happened that night -- And it did!"
Dog Shy is a fun two-reeler, and a nice introduction to Charley Chase for those who haven't had the pleasure of his acquaintance before now. In closing, I notice that there seems to be some controversy on this page about just what kind of dog is featured here. The Duke was portrayed -- and winningly, too -- by a pooch named Buddy who appeared in several Roach comedies around this time, including Laurel & Hardy's From Soup to Nuts. Buddy looks to me like a fox terrier mix, but don't quote me on that.
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