Charley finds himself having strange spells during which everything around him seems to stop.


(as Charles Parrott),


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Complete credited cast:
Charley Chase
James Finlayson ...
Dr. James Finlayson
Boy at Soda Fountain


Charley barges into the office of a psychiatrist whose avocation is competitive lying. Charley's tale, told with flashbacks and urgency, is odd: sometimes his world just stops in mid-motion. During those freezes, he has brief conversations with someone nearby who doesn't remember the exchange once things move again. A young woman invites him to her house; he arrives, she denies inviting him, and, worse, she's with her fiancé. Charley persists, the fiancé gets mad, and Charley gets the girl on the rebound. A few months later, they run into her ex at an amusement park; several freezes later, Charley is on the outs. Can the doctor do anything? Written by <>

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Comedy | Short





Release Date:

18 November 1935 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

A dazzling, inventive, sophisticated, witty short subject!
7 June 2002 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

"Life Hesitates at 40" showcases the sophisticated, dazzling comic writing, timing, and direction that characterized most of Charley Chase's work. The use of sound and stop-motion photography is arresting in its use and far ahead of its time. A delightful romp in which Charley Chase's character can hear what people are thinking is inventive and fun in the playing of the actors and editing. The chemistry between Charley Chase and Joyce Compton is beautiful to watch, a quiet but sexy verbal sparring much like what one could hear in screwball comedies that were just coming out in 1936, when this short was released. Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer (recently joining Our Gang) nearly steals the scenes he plays with Chase.

The photography shows great polish and attention to set design. Charley Chase's work in "Life Hesitates at 40" and other shorts going back to the mid-1920's illustrates a sophistication in scripting and playing that prefigures screwball comedy!

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