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Why Girls Say No (1927)

6.3
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Title: Why Girls Say No (1927)

Why Girls Say No (1927) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Becky Whisselberg
Creighton Hale ...
Becky's Boyfriend
Max Davidson ...
Papa Whisselberg
Ann Brody ...
Mama Whisselberg (as Anne Brody)
Spec O'Donnell ...
Maxie Whisselberg
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Short | Comedy

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20 February 1927 (USA)  »

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(2011 restoration)

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1.33 : 1
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Hardy's best pratfall
12 January 2003 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

"Why Girls Say No" is one of Max Davidson's funnier comedies, even though the aggressively Jewish stereotypes are more obvious here than in most of his other films. Still, there are some very disturbing plot elements here. This is one of those movies which subscribes to the view that, if a man pursues a woman aggressively enough, she will eventually welcome his advances. In "Why Girls Say No", Creighton Hale pursues Marjorie Daw in a manner which we would nowadays describe as stalking: when he starts out, she clearly has no interest in him at all, but he persists with high-pressure tactics (such as lurking outside her upstairs bedroom window late at night) and a couple of days later the two of them are engaged to be married!

Papa Whisselberg (Davidson) has an attractive young daughter Becky (Daw) who is beginning to attract gentlemen callers ... but Papa insists that all of her suitors must be Jewish. When the doorbell announces the arrival of yet another young swain, Papa grows angry ... until he gets a look at the visitor's huge nose, which satisfies Papa that the man is indeed "kosher". (The visitor is played by Jesse De Vorska, a gawky actor of extremely Semitic appearance.)

Becky attracts the attention of a young man (Creighton Hale) who doesn't appear to be Jewish at all. He pursues Becky very aggressively. She rejects him at first (rather sensibly, I thought) but is eventually won over. Only one problem: in order to call for Becky at her father's house, Creighton will have to pass for Jewish. Amazingly, he accomplishes this by wearing a hat several sizes too small. In the Whisselberg home, the men and boys wear hats at the table ... which seems plausible, except that none of the men are wearing yarmulkes. Ginsberg (De Vorska) wears a jaunty straw boater.

The funniest performer in this movie is Oliver Hardy (not yet teamed with Laurel), playing a brawny cop who is very different from his famous "Ollie" character. (Improbably, Officer Hardy is on patrol duty in the day time AND at night, but this movie doesn't stand up to analysis.) In hindsight, Hardy's presence makes some of the gags very obvious. At one point, Hardy the cop tries to walk across a mud puddle: anyone who has ever seen a Laurel & Hardy movie will know what happens next. Elsewhere in the film, Hardy does an amazing pratfall. I also laughed at a gag sequence in which Creighton Hale, a fully-grown man, uses an amazingly simple ploy to disguise himself as a little girl.

Give Stan Laurel credit for the script for this very funny film. I'll rate this movie 7 out of 10. I really dislike the "stalk a woman till she falls in love with you" plotline here, but that mentality is so widespread in movies and tv shows that it would be unfair of me to single out this movie for disapproval.


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