Harry will do anything to be a musician, but it takes a junk collector to discover his hidden talents.



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Cast overview:
Harry Hogan
Vernon Dent ...
Prof. Von Tempo / Junk Dealer


Is there a place in the world for Harry Hogan. On the day his parents and burly brothers kick him out of the house for never earning money - and whiling away his time taking music lessons, his teacher, Professor Von Tempo, gives Harry a music diploma to get rid of him. Harry's so bad that Von Tempo's neighbors complain during his lessons. Armed with the diploma, Harry sets out to seek his fortune. He spends the night in a flea-bag hotel, figures out how to get his bass fiddle out of the room without paying for the lodging, and looks for a gig. On his first day, he joins Von Tempo's street band and he meets Penrod the rag picker. Which encounter will prove fateful? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Plot Keywords:

junk | musician | See All (2) »


Comedy | Short





Release Date:

27 November 1927 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Not one sour note
17 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This Harry Langdon short subject is one of those pieces that are almost equal parts hilarious and sad, but is one hundred per cent wonderfully done and entrancing all the way through. The whole film is also a great and effective encapsulation of Harry's character and place in the world -- he lives in the real universe where families throw out their children and everyone needs money, which is difficult to get, but he is the trusting little person who believes that he can be a musician no matter how badly he plays, and that a diploma makes him a Real Musician, who kisses his mother and tries to shake his father's hand when they throw him out, who can buy, sell, and lose his own property without even knowing it. We can laugh at his naive confusion and still really feel for him when he loses his musician certificate.

Harry's cheap room, the run-down streets, and the supporting players are all starkly and sadly realistic, and that just increases and incongruity and humor of Harry's very realistic. It's kind of existential in its solitude of the world against the man, and also extremely funny at the same time. Harry is as good as ever here, managing to make it as funny as it is almost solely through he reactions and pantomime in the uncomfortable situations. Vernon Dent shows his versatility here, playing two characters who seem totally different. The out-and-out gags that there are part of perfectly logical-absurd sequences: I won't spoil my favorite, which involves Harry in a large cage on the street.

This short reminds me of the later Laurel and Hardy film "Below Zero" in which they are also poor street musicians. Perhaps it was an inspiration as the Laurel and Hardy short, while demonstrating their usual brilliant humor, also has a more desolate, sad feel than most of their output. The titles in "Fiddlesticks" deserve commendation too; there's a funny joke in almost all of them.

I agree with the previous comment that this short, which is pretty distilled Harry Langdon, is a good litmus test of whether a viewer will like him. I do, so I loved "Fiddlesticks."

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