A wealthy man wants his three free-spending daughters, who are in their twenties, to learn fiscal discipline. An attorney suggests that Charley, an efficiency expert, move in and provide guidance. The young women play a trick on the stiff-necked Charley by having Thelma, one of the sisters, switch places with Greta, their garboesque maid. Greta plays her part well, vamping and flirting with Charley, to the chagrin of her husband, the butler. Eventually, Charley smells a rat and, in his nightshirt, confronts Thelma in her bedroom. Lessons in frugality give way to farce as a shotgun and suit of armor provide the props of a dénouement. Written by
This is another typically hilarious short comedy that has the benefit of Charley Chase, this time as both star and co-director. He plays an "efficiency expert" hired to introduce some economy into the lives of a rich man's three daughters. With a Chase comedy's typical deftness, he's quickly placed into the most hilariously embarrassing situations that this could bring about when, after coming prepared to entertain children, he meets three beautiful women, and one of them, the enchanting Thelma Todd, who always enlivens the proceedings decides to impersonate the maid.
The fact that Charley is supposed to be playing a serious businessman just adds to the humor when he has to deal with being caught in every kind of compromising position with the girls, humiliate himself in a knight's costume, &c. This short is also extremely suggestive -- in some very funny ways -- for a 1930s film, even considering it comes before the introduction of the Hayes Code. The comedy set pieces include Charley's embarrassment when the girls start undressing to show why they need to order expensive new underwear, and suggestions that he may end up sleeping with the supposed maid! There's a funny turn by Hal Roach regular Billy Gilbert as a grumbling butler with impressive sideburns, and Charley himself is great here too, as always. I'm in what seems to be the minority (and in respectful disagreement with a previous IMDb commentator) who likes his sound shorts better (which is not to say I don't love the silents too) -- he had a screen character that broadened and developed when allowed to speak, rather than becoming more limited (like perhaps Buster Keaton's). He can put across so much fussy politeness, embarrassment, and attempted charm in his delivery that it just makes the shorts that much funnier. Here he gets a great monologue with his initial monologue on economy to the girls getting muddled into a bunch of senseless mixed metaphors in his bashfulness in front of their beauty.
This is a great example of Charley Chase's comedy, definitely recommended if you get the chance to see it.
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