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 ...
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Timid milkman, Burleigh Sullivan (Lloyd), somehow knocks out a boxing champ in a brawl. The fighter's manager decides to build up the milkman's reputation in a series of fixed fights and ... See full summary »
Country Doctor, Jack Jackson is called in to treat the Sick-Little-Well-Girl, who has been making Dr. Saulsbourg and is sanitarium very rich, after years of unsuccessful treatment. His ... See full summary »
Fred C. Newmeyer,
John T. Prince
Ambitious shoe salesman, Harold, unknowingly meets the boss' daughter and tells her he is a leather tycoon. The rest of the film he spends hiding his true circumstances, in the store and ... See full summary »
Episodic look at married life and in-law problems. Adventures include a ride on a crowded trolley with a live turkey; a wild spin in a new auto with the in-laws in tow; and a sequence in ... See full summary »
Fred C. Newmeyer,
After numerous failed attempts to commit suicide, our hero (Lloyd) runs into a lawyer who is looking for a stooge to stand in as a groom in order to secure an inheritance for his client (... See full summary »
Twenty years after his triumphs as a freshman on the football field, Harold is a mild-mannered clerk who dreams about marrying the girl at the desk down the aisle. But losing his job ... 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 <email@example.com>
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 »
Before Frank Capra's socially-aware comedy-dramas such as "It's a Wonderful Life," "Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington" and (my favorite) "Meet John Doe" there was "The Cat's Paw." In fact, "The Cat's Paw" and "Meet John Doe" share a similar plot: Corrupt politicians in a pickle find a sap to run for office so that they can use him for their own purposes.
In this case, Harold Lloyd plays a naive missionary just returned from China to his hometown of Stockport. Lloyd's character, Ezekiel Cobb, had planned on catching up with a friend of his, the Rev. Julius P. Withers, who dies unexpectedly. Withers had been running for mayor as the token losing opposition against the long-corrupt incumbent. His planned loss would've insured Withers' party (THE REFORM PARTY, no less! Talk about cynicism!) would continue to be paid off through the mayor's graft. Wouldn't you know it, just as the Reformers are looking for some sap to take Withers' place, in walks Ezekiel. Naturally, Ezekiel wins instead of losing, and turns idealistic political reformer -- much to the dismay of all the town's corrupt politicians and criminal class. Ezekiel's solution to halting the political corruption is both surprising and hilarious.
I found this film on TCM and, much to my surprise, not only kept watching it, but kept laughing -- all the way through. Great performances by Lloyd, transforming from unsophisticated (he doesn't even know how to use a phone!), Chinese-proverb quoting straight-arrow to incorruptible populist mayor; Una Merkle as the tough-girl love interest who convinces Ezekiel to do what's right through canny reverse psychology; and George Barbier as the initially-corrupt Reform Party boss, who comes around to Ezekiel's way of thinking. Also, lots of familiar character-actor faces whom you can't identify though you know you've seen them before.
This film is well worth seeking out. If it's not on VHS or DVD, it should be! It's a forgotten classic!
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