Charles is a doughboy in France; for him, war is another opportunity to sing in a quartet. He falls for Antoinette, a local bar maid. She likes him too. She encourages him to study, so he ... See full summary »
Charles is a doughboy in France; for him, war is another opportunity to sing in a quartet. He falls for Antoinette, a local bar maid. She likes him too. She encourages him to study, so he does and becomes a sergeant. But, his love life and musical career are interrupted by shooting, trench warfare, and Charlie's continual run-ins with a cranky lieutenant. A crisis befalls Charlie when the quartet's tenor is shot in the throat: Charlie hears a German soldier singing like an angel, so he hatches an elaborate plan to bring the soldier across no man's land. Can Charlie pull all of it off, including winning Antoinette's hand? Written by
three-reel musical comedy World War I short, with Charley Chase--not his best vehicle!!
This three-reel musical comedy short, set in World War I (!!!), begins with credits sung by two young ladies. Basically, the plot involves Charley as a music-loving player and singer who puts his music before the war activities. Charley and the "Ranch Boys" (including Hal Roach music director Marvin Hatley) sing at least four songs, including "My Little Quadroon". During one battle scene, Charley fakes the end of the war so he can get a German with a great voice from across the battle lines and into his quartet. Thelma Todd isn't given much to do as a French girl, and accents don't seem to be Ms. Todd's specialty! The 1931 short ROUGH SEAS seems to be a sequel to this, with more singing and more military antics (and a chimp!), and with Chase and Todd playing the same roles. Charley Chase is always funny, and he has a good voice and seems to be able to play a number of instruments. This kind of thing must have seemed like a pleasant novelty in the early days of sound, but it doesn't date very well today. Also, three reels (28 minutes, according to my count) is a bit too long, especially since the extra time is filled by quartet harmonizing. Hal Roach played around with longer-form shorts, and some of them worked, but this one should have cut a few songs out and had more comedy. Not among Chase's best vehicles!
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