Charley Chase had a penchant for taking a patently absurd, fanciful premise, and by focusing on its internal logic and minute real-word social consequences, turning into a hilarious and memorable two-reel comedy short. This produced some of his best films, and "Now We'll Tell One" follows this pattern. Unfortunately, it doesn't work as well here as it does in some of his other shorts, but this film is still good for more than a few good laughs.
Here, Charley plays a fashion-conscious wimp who picks up an ostentatious new belt that happens to be part of a newly-developed scientific apparatus which can switch people's personalities. The operators think that Charley's girlfriend's grandfather is their test subject and send a long series of different characters through the belt on the other end, with typically uncomfortable results for Charley.
This setup, while amusing, is not as simple as perhaps it could be in a comedy that has to develop in only twenty minutes, and there's a little too much "machinery" in evidence. It also doesn't follow much of an internal logic, with nothing by way of explanation given for the way this experiment is arranged. Mainly it gives us a chance to see a series of almost episodic gags that present themselves. Charley is funny is an Arabian sheik, and it's funnier when his girlfriend starts playing along after he is changed back. Further quick situation gags when a boxer, a drunk (why?), and a very fey ballet dancer are put through the machine, but it doesn't build much.
Unfortunately, which could have been a funny sequence with the timid Charley jumping on a motorcycle is spoiled by unconvincing back projection. It probably would have been wiser to rework the sequence if it couldn't be done with stunts.
Of all the Charley Chase shorts I've seen, this is one of the very oddest, and it is not the most well-structured like some of the other gems he produced, but it is lots of fun the whole way through and gets some definite laughs, which is what a comedy should do.
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