Thelma and Zazu return to their rooming house after a hard day working at a department store. They learn that the gal next door has to come up with twenty-dollars rent by tomorrow or be evicted, so Thelma and Zazu want to do a good deed. The only way they can figure out how to get the money is to be taxi dancers that evening. A bearded old guy seems attracted to Zazu and a sailor to Thelma, but the tickets aren't mounting up. Should they try to increase their sex appeal, or is there another way? Written by
I didn't know it till I watched these shorts, but ZaSu Pitts is an incredible physical comedian. Previously I was mostly familiar with her from Greed (1924) and Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1934), neither of which is anything resembling comedic. (In case you care, Greed is in my top 100 movies of all time. I hated Mrs. Wiggs.)
I was also surprised to discover that her name is pronounced ZAY-zoo, with a long A. I always though it was ZA-zoo, riming with "has to." But Thelma Todd clearly says, "Come on, ZAY-zoo."
MIss Pitts has a talent for physical comedy that is rivaled only by Lucille Ball and Patricia Routledge, and even they don't really approach what ZaSu is capable of, and demonstrates in these shorts. For one thing, her prat falls are the funniest I've ever seen, by male or female.
Asleep in the Feet is a laugh riot from start to finish. But it is so short, I wonder if some scenes were cut. For example, I'm surprised the landlady didn't have a follow-up after the stew incident -- it seemed like they were setting up the snotty neighbor to take the fall, but it never happened. Regardless, I wish it had been longer.
The basic premise is that, at the recommendation of their snotty neighbor, ZaSu and Thelma take a temporary job as taxi dancers in order to raise $20 so their nice neighbor won't get thrown out. Thelma is buttonholed by a burly sailor who won't let anyone else dance with her.
ZaSu doesn't fare as well. Apparently the men don't find her too attractive. I don't really know why. She's not the raving beauty she was in Greed, but the intervening nine years were kind to her, and I think she still looked quite fetching. At any rate, she's the last to be picked for every dance, and gets some lulus for partners. The funniest is about seven feet tall and yanks her around the dance floor in an animated fashion.
A bit later, her imitation of a fast, sexy jitterbugger is one of the funniest things I've ever seen!
Unlike many of these shorts, the ending is well thought out and satisfying. It leaves you laughing just like they are.
I can't think of a better way to spend just over 18 minutes than getting aching sides from watching this movie!
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