Young and beautiful Iva Method is spying for the police at the Dropem Inn, a sleazy club that the police suspect is a front for a bootlegging operation run by gangster Slim Chance. Chance ... See full summary »


, (as Noel Mason Smith)


, (as Noel Mason Smith)

On Disc

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Cast overview:
Larry, the Chief's son
Dorothy Dwan ...
Iva Method, the girl detective
Alma Bennett ...
The Vamp
Killer Kid (as Oliver N. Hardy)
Fred Spencer ...
Headquarters Hank (as Fred Spence)
Frank Alexander ...
Slim Chance
Spencer Bell ...
Dock worker
William Hauber ...
(as Bill Hauber)


Young and beautiful Iva Method is spying for the police at the Dropem Inn, a sleazy club that the police suspect is a front for a bootlegging operation run by gangster Slim Chance. Chance discovers Iva's identity and kidnaps her, and the police chief sends his somewhat bumbling son to rescue her. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy





Release Date:

28 September 1924 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los señores de la secreta  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Defective detectives.
26 June 2007 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

If Larry Semon had made more comedies like 'Her Boy Friend', his career might have lasted longer and ended more happily. Semon's typical screen character was a gormless menial labourer, a stumbling simpleton who came up trumps through dumb luck and accident. In 'Her Boy Friend', amazingly enough, Larry Semon plays a character more typical of silent-film comedian Raymond Griffith: he's well-dressed, cultured, and resourceful. At one point in this film, Semon punches a villain; more usually, he played a coward who only found his courage in the climactic sequence if at all.

Oliver Hardy, not yet teamed with Stan Laurel, did stalwart supporting work in many of Semon's films. Typically, Hardy played the foreman to Semon's dogsbody ... or at any rate someone more respectable than Semon's drudge. In 'Her Boy Friend', Semon's well-dressed and sophisticated appearance is made even more remarkable by contrasting it with Hardy's appearance: cast as an escaped murderer, Hardy is unshaven and filthy here.

Many of Semon's films are marred by unfunny and racist 'gag' sequences featuring a cowardly black man. On this score, sadly, 'Her Boy Friend' is all too typically a Semon movie. There's an unpleasant and unfunny sequence in which Hardy's villain bullies a black man. For once, Hardy plays his role in a Semon film almost dead-earnest; it's a shame that Oliver Hardy didn't get more dramatic roles, as he could have been an excellent character actor.

In this movie, as in several other Semon efforts, the black actor is Spencer Bell. Here, he does his usual scream-and-scarper routine, made slightly more unusual because he dives into water and swims away rather than running. Trust Larry Semon to take an unfunny gag and make it unfunnier; this sequence is undercranked, so that Spencer Bell's cowardly Negro swims at superhuman speed. But, as even the lowliest film-maker knows (or ought to know), undercranking should never be done in shots featuring open water, fire, or smoke: in the undercranked footage, these elements of nature will move unnaturally fast, with unconvincing results. This sequence is blatantly faked, and the obvious fakery removes every last vestige of humour.

'Her Boy Friend' features more impressive sets and production design than usual for a Semon film, and Dorothy Dwan (Semon's off-screen wife) is more attractive than usual here as an undercover detective. Frank Alexander is cast as a character named 'Slim Chance': a bad joke, as Alexander is even bigger and fatter than Oliver Hardy ... in fact, Alexander's mere presence in this film does much to undercut Hardy's effectiveness, since -- for once -- Hardy's not the biggest guy in the movie. I'll rate this weak effort just 4 out of 10, which is also -- in spite of Semon's efforts to vary his formula here -- pretty much where Larry Semon's entire film career should rate.

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