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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 »
Returning from 20 years in China, a young missionary refuses to become THE CAT'S-PAW for a gang of hometown hoodlums.
This movie was a bit of a departure from Harold Lloyd's previous movies. Comedy derived more from dialogue, often rather serious, predominates here, rather than the elaborate sight gags which powered Harold's classics of the past. There are some splendid moments, however, which are pure visual fun, as when Harold attempts to follow a convertible down a crowded street, or when he desperately tries to keep a nightclub stripper from losing her clothes. There is also the climactic scene, set in a Chinatown basement, in which Harold gleefully jumps unabashedly into the darkest comedy. But most of the humor derives from Harold's refusal to be the patsy of the criminals who've run his hometown for years.
And it's quite a collection of crooked politicians & thugs Harold finds himself up against, played by a bevy of fine character actors: George Barbier, Nat Pendleton, Grant Mitchell, Edwin Maxwell, Alan Dinehart, Warren Hymer & stuttering Fuzzy Knight. Pert Una Merkel is on hand as the tobacco stand girl who catches Harold's eye and keeps him intrigued by her no-nonsense outlook on life.
Movie mavens will recognize Samuel S. Hinds as Harold's missionary father; Charles Sellon as an elderly Stockport clergyman; and Herman Bing as a German gangster--all uncredited. Also, showing up for only a few seconds as an attempted kidnapper, is Noah Young, a familiar face from Harold's silent films, here making his final appearance in a Lloyd picture.
Fox gave the film fine production values, especially in the opening scenes set in China.
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