After being beaten to a story of scandal involving Countess Polasky, James W. Hornby assigns his son 24 hours to find an even more scandalous story about the countess. After spending the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Countess Polasky
Tyler Brooke ...
Young Hornby
...
Dangerfield
Bull Montana ...
Private Secretary
...
James W. Hornby
Leo White ...
Beauty Expert
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bill Brokaw ...
Party Guest
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Storyline

After being beaten to a story of scandal involving Countess Polasky, James W. Hornby assigns his son 24 hours to find an even more scandalous story about the countess. After spending the night in the wrong street looking for the wrong countess, he comes up with a plan: the butler will be seen in a comprimising situation with the countess, and then photographed. The countess, who is sick of reporters, has other ideas... Written by Paul L

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Comedy | Short

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28 November 1926 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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The sign on the door of James W. Hornby's private office reads "James W. Hornsby". See more »

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User Reviews

 
A cute comedy that's worth a look
5 September 2004 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

This is an amusing two-reeler that silent comedy buffs will enjoy, one of those silly-but-fun short subjects Hollywood used to crank out with the greatest of ease. On The Front Page was recently unearthed for the "Lost Films of Laurel & Hardy" DVD series, as it features Stan Laurel in a prominent supporting role. It was produced at the Hal Roach Studio in the mid-1920s, when Roach was trying to find a star comic to replace his departed golden boy, Harold Lloyd. Stan hadn't quite clicked as a solo comic and preferred working behind the camera at this point in his career, and thus plays second fiddle to the studio's latest would-be star Tyler Brooke, a dapper little gent who resembled Adolphe Menjou. Brooke is moderately appealing, but his broad, eye-popping manner might have been better suited to the Mack Sennett school of comedy; the house style at the Roach studio tended to be more low-key. In any case, Stan takes the role of Dangerfield the butler, dominates the second half of the film and provides the funniest moments. Dangerfield is quite similar to the hapless, simple-minded Stanley we recognize from Laurel & Hardy comedies, in sharp contrast with some of the other characterizations Stan assumed in his solo days.

Top billing in On The Front Page was assigned to neither Brooke nor Laurel; the official star of the show is Lillian Rich, a strikingly pretty actress I don't recall seeing anywhere else. Here she portrays the infamous, much-married Countess Polasky, a vampy femme fatale who, we're told, "would have made Sappho and Salome look like two Eskimos," whatever that means. The plot turns on the efforts of a cub reporter (Brooke) to make good at his paper, The Daily Squawk, which not so coincidentally is run by his father. The son is a hard-partying playboy who hasn't amounted to much, but he tries to atone by delivering a 'scoop' on Countess Polasky's latest scandal. Since she's not engaged in any scandalous behavior at the moment our hero decides to disguise his butler (Laurel) as a suitor, inflict him on the Countess, and photograph them in a compromising situation. But the flimsy story's just an excuse for a parade of gags and joke-y title cards, some of which are pretty funny. I especially enjoyed the butler's solemn presentation of cigars ("Your evening weed, sir") and his panicky objection to his master's plan: "I'm afraid of women, they increase my pulse, sir." I also liked the running gag involving motorcycle cop Edgar Dearing, who keeps popping up at the darndest times.

One good reason to see this movie is simply to gaze upon the Countess' lavish Art Deco apartment and her bizarre outfits. I don't know how much they paid Lillian Rich to play this role, but I hope they let her keep the spectacular pearl tiara she wears during her seduction scene with Stan. And check out those curtains with the spider web design! This engaging short comedy is no lost classic, but film buffs who enjoy sight gags and colorful period detail should have a fine time with it nevertheless.


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