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Snappy Sneezer (1929)

 -  Comedy | Short  -  29 July 1929 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 11 users  
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Charley falls in love with Thelma, but his attack of hay fever alienates her father.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Charley
...
Mary White
Anders Randolf ...
Mr. White
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Storyline

Charley falls in love with Thelma, but his attack of hay fever alienates her father.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sneezing | See All (1) »

Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Details

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Release Date:

29 July 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hay Fever  »

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Technical Specs

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(Western Electric System)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Snappy Sneezer was released in both silent and sound versions. See more »

Connections

Edited into Laurel and Hardy's Laughing 20's (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Can you imagine his embarrassment?
28 July 2013 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

Snappy Sneezer was one of the first talkie shorts made by Charley Chase, who learned and polished his art as a comedian during the silent era. What a pleasant surprise to discover that it's also one of Charley's very best comedies, crafted with such offhand skill you would think he'd been dealing with sound for ages, as well paced and funny as anything from his mid-'20s peak. Like a lot of early talkies Snappy Sneezer was also made available in the silent format, to accommodate theaters that hadn't yet been wired for sound. Unlike a number of other releases of the era, however, this short lends itself well to a silent edition, since so much of the comedy is visual. But the new technology permits us to enjoy the nicely delivered banter between Charley and leading lady Thelma Todd, as well as the grunts and growls uttered by Anders Randolph as a sourpuss Charley encounters on a streetcar. As a silent short Snappy Sneezer is fun, but with sound it's a gem.

The premise is simple. Charley and Thelma meet during a train trip, and their flirtation quickly develops into a romance. (Their first scene together, chatting and giggling at the train station, looks improvised and is absolutely charming.) In a happy coincidence they find they live in the same city, so their romance is destined to continue. Thelma, or Mary White as her character is named, would like to introduce the young man to her father, so they agree to meet later at her home. But this wouldn't be a Charley Chase comedy if he didn't suffer some form of public embarrassment. Before he leaves the station Charley must deal with an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction -- which he does, on this occasion, with admirable cleverness.

Next, Charley must board a streetcar to go home. What follows is a priceless routine, excerpted as a stand-alone sequence in Robert Youngson's compilation feature Laurel & Hardy's Laughing '20s. On the crowded streetcar, Charley's hay fever kicks in. Despite his best intentions, and no matter what he does, he repeatedly and violently sneezes on a fellow passenger, a grim looking middle-aged man who is not at all pleased about the situation. Admittedly, this gag is kind of gross, but we laugh because it's the sort of thing that happens in the real world, only exaggerated to a nightmare level. What's funny here is that Charley is really trying to be civil and leave the man alone, but no matter where he moves within the car, or what measures he takes to prevent it, he keeps sneezing on the same guy. But wait, there's more! The furious recipient of the sneezes is so angry he retaliates by mutilating Charley's straw boater. Then, both men get off at the same stop. Now the conflict escalates, because the man, who is understandably rattled, narrowly misses getting hurt, not once but twice. First he's almost hit by a speeding car, then nearly flattened by a heavy object, dropped off a building by careless workers. Charley tries to atone for his unfortunate sneezing episode by saving the man from peril, but only makes matters worse.

At last it's time for Charley to go to Mary White's home and meet her father. Guess who her father turns out to be? We're only half-way through the story, and Snappy Sneezer is already a great short. In the second reel, Charley desperately tries to make good with Mary's dad after getting off to this rather bumpy start. Mr. White has just purchased a new car, so Charley offers to teach Mary to drive. As you'd imagine, things do not go especially well. There are some great gags in the finale, one of which involves the imaginative use of a rubber band; here, Chase demonstrates how a gifted comic talent can get big laughs with a very simple prop.

The only problem with Snappy Sneezer is that it's not readily available for home viewing. On the bright side, many of Charley Chase's silent shorts have made their way to DVD in recent years, and so too have some of the sound shorts he produced for Columbia late in his career, but the Hal Roach talkies remain in limbo at this writing. I hope the situation changes for the better. Snappy Sneezer deserves pride of place in any collection of Chase's best comedies.


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