When a wealthy rancher tells his bookkeeper Charley that he is expecting his beautiful daughter Mary back home, the meek accountant's ardor for her is rekindled. Things become complicated when Francisco Murietta, a dashing local outlaw chief, becomes smitten with her too. Charley, a lookalike for the infamous bandito, impersonates his rival in order to win Mary, but Murietta's men aren't so easily fooled. Written by
The character of the Mexican bandit is a clear reference to legendary California outlaw Juoquin Murietta, a controversial folk hero and Mexican nationalist considered by some as the "Robin Hood of El Dorado." Murietta served as the model for the fictional Zorro. See more »
In the Good Old Summertime
Music by George Evans
Tune attempted by the cowboy band See more »
I've never been the biggest fan in the world of Western-based comedies, as they often seem to me to rehash a lot of the same jokes at the expense of their very formulaic basis genre, but Charley Chase manages to make this Western-themed two-reel comedy very funny for me. He starts with the juxtaposition of his embarrassed, unintimidating character a clerk at a ranch who must impress his girl by pretending to have become a cowboy, and from this flows some pleasant sequences that both give him a chance to do some great comic song-performing and mock the ripe material of pervasive and unrealistic stereotypes of the singing cowboy.
It's a one of those Chase talkies that manages to be lots of freewheeling and loose fun while still leading to plenty of amusing and embarrassing or frustrating complications, and Charley pulls of some amusing twists on the old canard of the mistaken identity with the identical twin.
What really makes this short stand out, though, is the chances it gives Charley for an extra-bravura comedy performance. He's called upon here to play his usual comedy character, a dangerous macho Latin cowboy bandit, and his usual character trying to imitate the bandit. He rises to the challenge and his hilarious and impressive in the contrast. Plenty of opportunities in speech and song to show off his range and the fact that he was fluent in Spanish. He even gets a throwaway gag at the beginning to show of the Chinese doubletalk that he picked up growing up in Baltimore.
This is a funny comedy as you'd expect from it's star, avoiding stale Western jokes despite its Western setting and showing Charley in his versatile element as a comic performer.
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