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 <email@example.com>
The delay that followed Harold Lloyd's last picture Movie Crazy 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 »
We hear so much about how the coming of sound ruined careers. This doesn't seem to be the case for Harold Lloyd, who smoothly makes the transition to talkies in 'The Cat's Paw' (1934). The story has Lloyd as missionary's son Ezekiel Cobb raised in rural China. On return to America Cobb becomes a patsy for a political machine, but to everyone's surprise gets elected mayor.
The story is entertaining even though most of the jokes fall flat. It does contain a lot of racial stereotypes and epithets, but is good natured and pretty equal-opportunity in it's treatment of various ethnic groups making it at least honest in it's portrayal of life in Depression era U.S.A.
Modern audiences may find the use of caucasian actors in Chinese roles, and the dubbing of Lloyd when he speaks Chinese in 'The Cat's Paw' as much more blatantly obvious than did audiences of the time. And while it's not as groundbreaking as Lloyd's silent film work, and there are admittedly better films from the mid 30s, as mentioned, it's entertaining and fast moving, and worth checking out if for no other reason than to see Una Merkel as savvy cigarette girl Pet and to see Lloyd transition from sight gags to speaking.
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