A timid man is the butt of practical jokes in a boarding house. He likes the proprietors' daughter Nancy, and she encourages him to stick up for himself, but he can't find the will or the strength. Then, he reads about a scientific breakthrough: a doctor has found a way to inject the personality of a bulldog into timid humans. He volunteers for a treatment, and soon he's storming toward the boarding house to put his tormentors in their place. Will he succeed or will something in the nature of things keep him living a dog's life? Written by
Violence IS the solution....at least when it came to Harry Langdon's career!
In the 1920s, Harry Langdon was well on his way towards being one of the top film comedians. Yet inexplicably, after some very bad career choices, his career went into a steady decline from which he never recovered. His films for Hal Roach Studios during this time are just painful to watch--particularly if you love early comedies (like I do). Mostly, they just aren't funny and Langdon's sense of comedic timing was off--way, way off.
The plot of "The Shrimp" seems like it might provide him with a chance to shine. He plays his usual mousy-type guy and lives in a boarding house full of jerks. They take advantage of his wimpiness to play a lot of nasty jokes on him and bully him about all the time.
In the next scene, a Professor gives a demonstration where he has created a serum to make wimps into tough guys. Naturally, the wimp he demonstrates this on is Harry--and eventually Harry returns home to dispense some justice for all the indignities he's endured. Seeing Langdon this aggressive and mean is pretty funny--and quite a twist. If only the other Hal Roach-produced films with Langdon were like this! Finally...a short with a few laughs! By the way, the Professor in this short was played by Max Davidson. While it's very hard to find his films today, see if you can find one. They are hilarious--and it's a shame he's pretty much forgotten today.
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