Naive Ezekial Cobb, brought up by his missionary father in China returns to America to seek a wife. Corrupt politicians enlist him to run for mayor as a dummy candidate with no chance of ... See full summary »
Naive Ezekial Cobb, brought up by his missionary father in China returns to America to seek a wife. Corrupt politicians enlist him to run for mayor as a dummy candidate with no chance of winning. Their plan backfires as he wins and embarks upon a reform crusade. Written by
Herman Seifer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The delay that followed Harold Lloyd's last picture Movie Crazy (1932) was partly due to the fact that he could find no suitable story. He bought The Cat's Paw when Author Clarence Budington Kelland had finished only the first chapter, offered suggestions to make the part more to his taste. When the story was finished Lloyd was amazed to find that none of the antics which his private staff of "gagmen" usually arrange for him seemed to fit the plot. He finally accepted the advice of his director, Sam Taylor, to make the picture without his customary comedy inventions. See more »
For those of you looking for the crazy stunts that typified a Harold Lloyd silent comedy, this is not the film for you. What The Cat's-Paw gives us is an interesting and atypical character for Lloyd who was trying to establish himself in sound.
For me the closest movie comparison to Lloyd's character is that of Peter Sellers in Being There. For all the education that Lloyd has received in dealing with the world, he might as well have been brought up in isolation as Sellers was.
But where he was brought up was as a missionary's child in China and I don't know how much Christianity he and his family were able to teach the Chinese, but young Harold has learned the wisdom of Chinese philosopher Lin Po whom he quotes constantly like a fortune cookie aphorism. As it turns out Lin Po turns out to be one wise dude.
Anyway Lloyd's father Samuel S. Hinds has decided his son needs some education in the modern world of 20th century America and he sends him back to be the guest of the pastor of the home church which sponsors the mission. The pastor there is the perennial candidate of the 'reform' movement of that town of Stockport. But no sooner does Lloyd arrive and the pastor dies.
Now the reform movement is a sham and the pastor a patsy of the political bosses who need a straw-man opponent in every election. They decide Lloyd just might be a better patsy than the guy who just died.
Of course as it goes in these type of films the patsy proves to be not so easy a proposition. In fact Lloyd constantly quoting from Lin Po, the way Charlie Chan used to dispense wisdom proves quite the adversary for the crooks who run Stockport. In addition Lloyd gains the admiration of Una Merkel, as cynical a dame as Jean Arthur was in Mr. Deeds and Mr. Smith.
The Cat's-Paw is still a nice political satire though it did not establish Harold Lloyd as big a comedy name as he was in silent films. A nice cast of players was selected by director Sam Taylor topped by George Barbier who plays a political boss who discovers Lloyd and actually proves to have a streak of honesty in him.
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