World War I is over, and the American soldiers are boarding ships to sail for home. Pvt. Charley Chase smuggles his French girlfriend Antoinette aboard as a bag of dirty laundry while his pet monkey Napoleon manages to sneak aboard on his own. Charley and his monkey steal a soldier's uniform for Antoinette piece by piece, and then Charley sings, dances, plays the harmonica and accordion, and pulls pranks on his fellow soldiers while he should be working. The ship's doctor attempts to restore the beautiful tenor voice of a member of Charley's quartet, and Napoleon wreaks havoc by playing with the ship's controls and a cannon. Written by
Charley Chase is best taken in small doses since his brand of comedy can lead you to push the fast forward button as you watch him on video. Still, this film shows him in one of his most representative roles.
Comic pratfalls, absurd situations, outrageous mugging, jokes relying on props (including a Capucine monkey), authority figures like a ship captain reduced to straight men. Yet, here you see his vaudeville side -- his comic singing, his "straight" musical numbers, his dealing with a younger and very pretty Thelma Todd (whose version of a French woman comes out of Broadway, not Paris), and, of course, his funny faces on a mug that looked like an accountant or a more mature Harold Lloyd.
Sometimes, he can be really funny; but normally you want to beg off watching him, because he grabs you by the arm like a high pressure salesman wanting you to appreciate a joke he just has to tell you.
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