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The Strong Man (1926)

A meek Belgian soldier (Harry Langdon) fighting in World War I receives penpal letters and a photo from "Mary Brown", an American girl he has never met. He becomes infatuated with her by ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Paul Bergot
...
Mary Brown
...
'Lily' of Broadway
...
'Holy Joe'
...
'Mike' McDevitt
Arthur Thalasso ...
'Zandow the Great'
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Storyline

A meek Belgian soldier (Harry Langdon) fighting in World War I receives penpal letters and a photo from "Mary Brown", an American girl he has never met. He becomes infatuated with her by long distance. After the war, the young Belgian journeys to America as assistant to a theatrical "strong man", Zandow the Great (Arthur Thalasso). While in America, he searches for Mary Brown... and he finds her, just as word comes that Zandow is incapacitated and the little nebbish must go on stage in his place. Written by Dan Navarro <daneldorado@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He couldn't tear a piece of paper without losing his breath- he isn't big enough to carry a chip on his shoulder- but the muscles around his funny bone bulge like blisters on a balloon tyre. (Print ad- Sunday Mail, ((Brisbane, Queensland)) 13 February 1927)

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Comedy

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Release Date:

19 September 1926 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Atleta à Força  »

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1.33 : 1
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Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Silent Classics (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mr. Langdon Brings Down The House
27 June 2004 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A shy young Belgian immigrate searches for the American girl who wrote of her love to him during the Great War.

Director Frank Capra and clown Harry Langdon together fashioned THE STRONG MAN, one of the finest comedies of the Silent Era. Moving the action from No Man's Land in Western Europe, to Ellis Island and the hectic streets of New York, and finally to the temporarily corrupted village of Cloverdale, Capra & Langdon expertly mix belly laughs with scenes of great emotional tenderness. If either of them had never made another film, this one would have been enough to have ensured each a footnote in movie history.

Langdon's minimalist style is highlighted in a series of vignettes which perfectly captures his unique adult baby persona: Harry's hilarious encounter with Broadway Lily, which includes his classic up-the-stairs-backward routine; Harry's finding of blind Mary Brown and the incredibly poignant way in which he immediately falls in love with her; Langdon's hapless impersonation of The Strong Man and his single-handed battle against a saloon full of bad guys.

A sturdy cast gives able support: Gertrude Astor as dangerous Lily; saintly William V. Mong as Holy Joe, the Cloverdale minister; Priscilla Bonner as sweet Mary; beefy Arthur Thalasso as The Great Zandow; Robert McKim as Cloverdale's wicked criminal boss; and Brooks Benedict as a tough passenger encountered by Harry on a bus.

A quick caricature of Harry, dressed in his policeman's uniform from the end of the movie, appears courtesy of Walt Disney at the beginning of the animated MICKEY'S GALA PREMIER (1933).


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