The guys at the saloon in a wild west town are unhappy to hear that a moral crusader, known as the Fighting Parson, is headed their way. We meet the parson and his wife aboard a stagecoach; their fellow passenger is an itinerant banjo player. After the stage is held up, only the banjo player makes it to town, where he's mistaken for the Fighting Parson. A gal forced into white slavery at the saloon asks him for help, and he has to duke it out with the dance hall girl's tormentor. Does this small man stand a chance? Written by
The marriage of styles between Harry Langdon and the Hal Roach studio would seem, on the surface of it, to be a perfect wedding but the reality was that it was a bumpy affair. However, THE FIGHTING PARSON turned out to be a memorable union.
Our first appearance of Harry is inside a stagecoach entertaining the passengers with a charming ditty while strumming a banjo. The great comedians all seemed to had been musically proficient. Groucho played guitar to keep up with his brothers and Keaton played a mean ukulele. When Harry finishes his tune he immediately holds out his hand looking for tips. Since he is wedged between two disinterested people his hand moves from side to side to side looking for a response. It's a hilarious moment. This short plays up the description that only the Gods and fate can save this clown. Through a series of accidents that Harry has no control over he soon has an entire western town believing that he is the notorious fighting Parson. There is not a more implausible sight than a town of western toughs cowering while pasty-faced Harry is busy playing by blowing foam off of his beer mug. Since he has the run of the town he decides to entertain them all by once again taking out his banjo and goes into a spirited rendition of "Frankie and Johnnie". This is followed by an impromptu tap dance and it comes off just as charming as the off-the-cuff musical moments that would appear in the shorts of Charley Chase and Stan & Ollie.
Eventually Harry must face off against the town's bad guy and since this is a western setting we naturally assume guns will be involved. And for that very reason the boys settle their differences with a boxing match. The farcical tones of this short is ratcheted up another notch as Harry acquires two long poles for arms with boxing gloves attached to the ends. This abstract image is matched with Langdon's creative use of his new arms as he pokes, jabs, throws wheel barrel punches and even skips rope with them. It all ends up with this being one of the most entertaining of the Langdon-Roach shorts.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?