Harold Bledsoe, a botany student, is called back home to San Francisco, where his late father had been police chief, to help investigate a crime wave in Chinatown. Written by
Herman Seifer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Clyde Bruckman's solution for reworking the film as a talkie was to eliminate half the silent version and re-shoot it as a talkie. The remaining half of the picture would be dubbed - - a cumbersome experience that Lloyd found difficult to accomplish. The result was awkward and it's easy to spot the dubbed scenes in the film (most apparent in the scenes Lloyd shares with Noah Young as Officer Clancy). It's readily apparent that Young was especially poor at looping his own voice. See more »
In many of the dubbed scenes, the voices are out of synchronization with the actors' lip movements. See more »
Anyone who's seen `Singin' In The Rain' knows the panic engendered by the arrival of sound in Hollywood. Virtually overnight, the accepted methods and styles of filmmaking had to change to accommodate the new technology, and comedies were perhaps affected most of all. Instead of relying on wild car chases, broad gestures and sight gags, movies now had to include verbal comedy of the sort that wouldn't fit neatly onto title cards, and the dialogue had to be delivered with comic timing, since it was being heard rather than read off the screen. The most remarkable thing about this movie is how easily Harold Lloyd seemed to navigate this conversion to sound. The dialogue is clever, naturalistic, well-delivered and well-recorded, and the music has obviously been scored to support the action, and all this a matter of months after the first appearance of sound technology in Hollywood! The difference in technique is apparent when you compare the broader, overdubbed silent scenes with Clancy the cop and the somewhat more subtle, sound scenes at the police station and with Billie Lee.
As a side note, notice how the character of the Chinese doctor is treated respectfully, and even the black henchman of the Dragon, apparently invulnerable except for his glass shins, isn't the usual stereotype we expect in movies of the period. On the minus side, the movie is overlong and could have done without the opening sequence involving Lloyd and his `disguised' girlfriend. But overall, this is an enjoyable comedy and an interesting record of Hollywood's transition to sound.
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