An unimpressive but well intending man is given the chance to marry a popular actress, of whom he has been a hopeless fan. But what he doesn't realize is that he is being used to make the actress' old flame jealous.
Elmer is a dry cleaner. He is madly in love with stage star Trilby Drew; for each of her 35 performances, he dons someone else's tuxedo and races to the theatre. When Trilby's co-star boyfriend gets engaged to a socialite, she marries Elmer to get even, assuming Elmer is a millionaire (since his clothes are so snazzy.) But she's clearly still in love with her scoundrelous co-star, and her manager makes her leave Elmer, trying to pay him off so the papers don't hear about her marriage to a "cheap pants presser." Can Elmer win her love? Maybe a sea voyage will help. Written by
Buster Keaton wanted this film to be a full talkie, but MGM released it with only a musical score and sound effects. See more »
In the dressing-room scene while attempting to trim the hair for his false beard, Elmer accidentally severs the left-hand shoulder strap of his vest and has no time to repair it. When we see him hurriedly changing back into his smart clothes after the performance, both straps are still whole. See more »
Another reason Keaton was the greatest comedian of the 20s!
The story isn't much, but Buster packs every scene with so many gags that you don't mind. It's easy to see why he was so successful, until MGM stuck him with stories that were totally unsuitable.
The original score is fantastic, here - it includes a great deal of popular music and makes commentary on the situations, but the meaning will be lost on most modern viewers (I collect records from that period, so I recognize most all of it); even so, it moves the action right along and gives us a rare chance to experience a silent film just as it was presented to contemporary audiences. No cheesy piano accompaniment, here! The sound effects are well done, and used sparingly.
The shipboard scenes could have been trimmed a bit; they seem to drag. Otherwise, time flies during this movie - you won't regret watching it! Just compare it with the average sound 'comedy' which Hollywood produced until 1932 or so, and you'll realize how they lost the art of making good films for a while. It's a crime that Keaton wasn't given the chance to produce his own talkies, because he might have changed the whole concept of what made a good SOUND comedy! It's a wonder that audiences didn't rebel against the boring, static, yawnful talk-fests that early sound comedies became; maybe the novelty of Talkies really WAS enough to bring them into the theaters.
I'd haven given this a 10, except for the draggy ship scenes - but the ending is satisfyingly Keatonesque!
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