|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having struggled to find work in the latest recession, I could laugh most heartedly along with the diminutive Daphne Pollard who struggles to maintain her composure as she tries to support her little son Harold (Ginger Connelly) through the tough times during the pre-Roosevelt days where no new deal seemed to be on the way. She is small in stature but not in spirit, having to push her way through the crowds of larger people (both in height and in girth) so she can claim a job for herself. In the span of 18 minutes, Ms. Pollard deals with other job seekers, burglars posing as the doctor she has been sent to be cook and housekeeper for, and finally, a stove that won't light. With Edgar Kennedy as one of the crooks (part of a team who had earlier showed up at the job agency to look for a job as "burglar" and accidentally saying "bootlegger"), Ms. Pollard has her hands full, ending up on the doctor's operating table which all of a suddenly becomes a seesaw. Pollard hysterically reaches for the brass ring on a chandelier then ends up in a virtual wrestling match with the much larger Kennedy. Then, little Harold deals with a safecracker who can't crack the doctor's safe even though Harold can. A bottle of chloroform ends up as a major gag prop as does a stove, a bottle of kerosene, a lighted match, and ultimately a pot which makes the most attractive of hats. Silly yet innocent, this slapstick comedy may not be up there with the legendary farce of Chaplin, Lloyd or Keaton, but for 18 minutes, it provides plenty of laughs and the presence of a rarely seen comic face that reminds me of a combination of both Beatrice Lillie and Molly Picon.
Help Wanted, Female (1931)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
Pretty bad two-reeler about a woman (Daphne Pollard) and her son (Ginger Connelly) who spend all day in an unemployment office only to finally get a job as a cook at a doctor's office. She arrives there and meets the "doctors" (Edgar Kennedy, Arthur Housman) not knowing that they're actually burglars. Daphen, best known today for being the sister to Snub Pollard, appeared in over fifty films but I think it's safe to say that she wasn't the greatest actress in the world. It's really hard to tell what she could actually do by judging this film because there's no question that the thing needed a new story for anyone to shine. The majority of the running time features absolutely no laughs and instead we just get some silly slapstick that is never funny and instead comes off quite annoying. The majority of the second half features Pollard on the ground wrestling with Kennedy while Connelly is on the ground wrestling with Housman. This sequence lasts a good seven or so minutes and it seems to be only dragging along because they couldn't figure out anything else to do. It's not funny and it's not even cute in any sort of way. Kennedy was a staple in these shorts but sadly he's not given too much to do. Housman is best known for playing drunks and he too is wasted in the part. Connelly is just downright annoying as the child but this is largely due to the screenplay. At just 18-minutes the film seems to run longer than ROOTS and there's no reason to watch it.
The extremely diminutive Daphne Pollard stars in this film. While very,
very few would recognize her today, she made quite a few silent and
sound comedies. She was the sister of the slightly more famous Snub
Pollard--both born in Australia but who moved to the States to make
In addition to Pollard, Edgar Kennedy and Arthur Housman star in "Help Wanted, Female". Kennedy was one of the most popular supporting actors in comedy shorts of his era. Housman was famous for playing drunks, though in a few Kennedy shorts he played the characters straight--and had very little charisma in such roles.
This film finds Kennedy and Housman playing burglars. When they go to a doctor's house to rob him, Pollard and her brat of a son arrive for an exam. Kennedy pretends to be the doctor--at which point he and Pollard begin wrestling--and there is absolutely no point to this...none. Instead of real comedy, they literally rolled around on the floor together. Eventually she learns that Kennedy is a burglar (after they've been rolling about for a LONG time) and she apprehends him. Once the real doctor has been found, she's hired as his cook and this leads the final scene--the only real funny one in the film.
Overall, this is a comedy that is clearly not among the better ones of the era. While parts are decent, mostly it's unfunny and easy to forget. I guess this is what happens when three supporting characters are thrown into the leads AND you don't give them much of a script.
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