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Why Girls Love Sailors (1927)

 -  Comedy | Short  -  17 July 1927 (USA)
6.1
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Stan is young sailor whose girl gets kidnapped by rough sea captain. Stan dresses in drag and seduces the captain and the captain's wife catches him. Stan and his girl beat a hasty retreat ... See full summary »

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Title: Why Girls Love Sailors (1927)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Willie Brisling
...
First Mate
Viola Richard ...
Willie's Girl
Anita Garvin ...
Captain's Wife
Malcolm Waite ...
Sea Captain
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles R. Althoff ...
Grandpa Brisling (scenes deleted)
Sôjin Kamiyama ...
Moneylender (scenes deleted) (as Sôjin)
Eric Mayne ...
The Admiral (scenes deleted)
...
Delamar (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Stan is young sailor whose girl gets kidnapped by rough sea captain. Stan dresses in drag and seduces the captain and the captain's wife catches him. Stan and his girl beat a hasty retreat as the captain's wife fires off a parting shot. Written by Tom Althoff <tomk2ta@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Release Date:

17 July 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Perché le ragazze amano i marinai  »

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 »
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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It was considered a lost film until 1971 when it was rediscovered in France. See more »

Goofs

Beard-length of the captain. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A bunch of tough sailors are reduced to mush by a boy named Willie, in drag
14 February 2006 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

Anyone who tunes in to this short expecting a typical Laurel & Hardy comedy is in for a surprise, for although both gents appear in Why Girls Love Sailors, the film was made before they'd developed into the team we recognize—which is putting it mildly! Here we find Oliver Hardy as an unshaven roughneck, first mate on a decrepit cargo boat, described in a title card as "the nastiest brute on board," a guy who flings sailors overboard if he thinks they've insulted him. Stan is introduced as Willie Brisling, "the great periwinkle fisherman," and yet he plays a character somewhat closer to the one we know, grinning vacantly and even bursting into tears at one point. Stan has an amusing scene at the beginning, flirting joyously with his fiancée Nell (Viola Richard, a Clara Bow look-alike who was one of the cutest actresses on the Hal Roach lot). As it happens, the captain of Ollie's ship, the "Merry Maiden," is an ex-boyfriend of Nell's who abducts her and hauls her on board with evil intent, and it's up to Stan to rescue her. He does so by disguising himself as a woman and vamping most of the crew, including first mate Ollie and the captain himself.

I must say, this movie ranks with the weirdest silent comedies I've seen, whether featuring Laurel, Hardy, or anyone else. It's funny at times, but there are quite a few moments that leave me bewildered. When Stan first boards the ship there's a bit involving a sailor played by Jerry Mandy; Stan pulls his sweater over his head and cavorts strangely, apparently intending to confuse the man. It works, but the point of the scene was lost on me. Then Stan finds a clothes trunk from the "Jules Ellenge Theatre" filled with women's clothing; this was obviously meant as a reference to then-famous female impersonator Julian Eltinge, and indeed Stan soon emerges from the trunk in drag. Is it unfair to ask why this trunk was on board in the first place? It's implied at the beginning that the crew of the Merry Maiden are smuggling booze, but are they smuggling transvestites as well?

Some of the funniest bits involve Stan's impact on the crew members, each of whom is instantly smitten at the sight of him. Stan and Ollie get their one extended scene together during this portion of the film, and although Stan would don drag on several later occasions they never played a scene like this one again. Things turn really bizarre when Stan starts vamping the captain, and his angry wife (Anita Garvin) shows up unexpectedly. She finds her husband holding Stan in his lap, making hanky-panky. She pulls a gun and is ready to plug her spouse, and at first Stan is elated, but when she makes it clear that she intends to punish them both Stan whips off his wig, reveals his true gender, and announces that this was all a test "to see if you really love him."

And how does she react? She's embarrassed! She sheepishly lowers the gun, quickly apologizes to her husband for doubting him, and embraces him! This astonishing moment is followed by a couple more strange twists before we reach the final fade-out gag of Why Girls Love Sailors. I don't know about anyone else who's seen this, but I'm still trying to process that "testing your love" bit. My guess is that the filmmakers had to come up with an ending in a hurry and decided to just wing it with something really silly. Whatever the case, this odd little comedy may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's well worth a look for the Curio Factor alone. At any rate, I'll wager you won't be bored!


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