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It's the Old Army Game (1926)

Passed  -  Adventure | Comedy | Romance  -  11 July 1926 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 139 users  
Reviews: 4 user

Druggist Elmer Prettywillie is sleeping. A woman rings the night bell only to buy a two-cent stamp. Then garbage collectors waken him. Next it's firemen on a false alarm. And then a real fire.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Elmer Prettywillie
...
Mildred Marshall
Blanche Ring ...
Tessie Overholt
William Gaxton ...
George Parker
Mary Foy ...
Sarah Pancoast
Mickey Bennett ...
Mickey
...
Society Bather
Jack Luden ...
Society Bather
George Currie ...
Artist
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Storyline

Elmer Pettywillie is the owner of a small drug store in Florida, and Mildred Marshall is his clerk. Business is slow until George Delevan leases space in the store to sell New York real estate. Business is good, especially for George, but the sheriff comes looking for him and he departs the premises for places unknown. Elmer feels that he has been an unknowing accomplice in a con-game, and he heads for New York in his old Ford. But he heads in the wrong direction, gets lost a few times, gives up and starts back to his drugstore. Many townsmen are rushing toward him as he drives up the street, but they are running to congratulate him as George as returned bearing profits for all the local investors. All is well, other than Elmer ending up as a very reluctant fourth-party in a double-wedding ceremony. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

11 July 1926 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Old Army Game  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

George Parker: [title card] I'd like to put my real estate display in your window. I'm president of the High-and-Dry Realty Company - I want to use your window for a display.
Mildred Marshall: [title card] It might help our business, too.
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Connections

Featured in W.C. Fields: Straight Up (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
W.C. Fields and Louise Brooks
30 August 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The version I have is an excellent print from a showing in Oregon. It runs 105 minutes (not the 70 or 77 minutes mentioned on IMDb) and boasts a nice, live piano performance by Keith Taylor. This film was considered to be lost for many decades but exists in a very nice print.

This film is basically a forerunner of the hilarious 1934 film, IT'S A GIFT, but is based on a play entitled "The Comic Supplement." As with most W.C. Fields material, the story here is a mish-mash from several sources and his own stage routines.

Fields started filing a couple of his stage routines in 1915 as shorts but was not successful, In 1924 he landed a small but effective role in Marion Davies' JANICE MEREDITH. He finally landed a starring role in a feature film the following year in SALLY OF THE SAWDUST, a version of his stage hit "Poppy." He appeared fairly regularly through the end of his silent films in 1928.

Here Fields plays a small-town druggist who is much put upon by his family (a sister and nephew), a local spinster, and the town at large. His only good relationship is with Brooks, who works in his store. As with most Fields films, his only close relationships is with a grown daughter or young lady.

In a subplot, a real estate sharpie (William Gaxton) comes to town and falls for Brooks. He talks Fields into letting him use his store to sell New York City lots (not Florida, as mentioned elsewhere). Of course Gaxton is hauled away by the law and Fields feels compelled to pay back the money to all the "investors" who have been bilked.

As with IT'S A GIFT, we have scenes on the back porch where Fields is trying to sleep, the nagging and odious family (Mary Foy, Mickey Bennett), and a prolonged picnic scene on the grounds of a private estate. This version also has Fields hassling with NYC traffic (the wrong way on a one way street) as he ventures to right the wrongs of Gaxton.

Of course Gaxton is freed and the investors all become rich, so when Fields returns to town and sees the crowds, he's afraid they are out to get him. This leads to a chase scene where Fields ends up in jail.

Heavy on the sentimental melodrama, IT'S THE OLD ARMY GAME is not really a comedy, but a film with comic scenes. Fields never really became a comedian until the talkies, where his films were trimmed of melodrama and his famous rasping voice finally gave him a personality. His decades-long stage career was spent mainly as a silent juggler.

Yet Fields is certainly impressive here (as he was in SALLY OF THE SAWDUST) but the meandering storyline doesn't help much. Louise Brooks is just stunning here as the small-town girl. Gaxton and Foy are OK. Bennett is a little brat, and Blanche Ring is funny as the fluttery spinster who pines for Fields. Also funny is one of Fields favorites, Elise Cavanna as the near-sighted woman who wants a 2-cent stamp.


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