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The Fraidy Cat (1924)

Passed | | Comedy, Short | 30 March 1924 (USA)
Jimmy Jump is a coward. Everyone and everything makes him afraid. He cowers from the neighborhood children, even though he's old enough to be their father. He is terrified of Lem Tucker, ... See full summary »

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(as James G. Parrott)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jimmy Jump
Beth Darlington ...
Dorothy - the Doctor's Daughter
Earl Mohan ...
Lem Tucker - the Village Sheik
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Storyline

Jimmy Jump is a coward. Everyone and everything makes him afraid. He cowers from the neighborhood children, even though he's old enough to be their father. He is terrified of Lem Tucker, who is his rival for the heart of Dorothy. Only when he mistakenly believes he is about to die does Jimmy find courage. But will it last? Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Genres:

Comedy | Short

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

30 March 1924 (USA)  »

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Runtime:

(2005 alternate)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Don't be afraid to watch
17 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This appears to be one of the better-known of Charley Chase's early "Jimmy Jump" one-reelers because it also happens to feature the debut of Hal Roach's "Our Gang" kids. Here they are funny only as a foil to Chase -- a group of local kids who torment the super-cowardly Charley, and upon whom he gets his comeuppance after getting a burst of courage later. Fortunately, that humor reflecting off of Charley is very funny, as is the rest of the film.

One thing that Chase did really well was to take his basic character, put a simple but often outlandish twist on it, and draw great comedy out of the complications that naturally arise. He might be the world's most forgetful man (as in the much later "The Mind Needer") or even be afflicted by a strange condition that causes time to freeze every once in a while just for him (as in "Life Hesitates at 40"). Here, developing this trick, his problem is that he is extremely cowardly; when he overhears "diet a week" and thinks this means he will die in a week (though why he thinks his girlfriend's father is to be trusted with such a prognosis we don't know), his character reverses with very amusing results.

It's well-structured as always with Charley, but more slapsticky than usual, and happily the slapstick works well. The funniest sequence, though, is a wonderful gag that involves Charley not having to speak the romantic lines he wishes he could because the man across the hedge is doing it for him.

Watch for a shot where you can lip-read Charley speaking an expletive beginning with F that wouldn't be aloud in his later sound films.

This is an extremely funny little film with a satisfying story and good structure packed only into ten minutes -- Charley Chase represents himself well his fans (such as me) and for people who come to this short just for the Little Rascals.


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