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Robert G. Vignola
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This short was screened at the Castro Theater in San Francisco for the 12th Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, as part of a program entitled "Hal Roach: King of Comedy (1924-1929)" in 2007. See more »
With Hampton del Ruth in charge of this Arthur Stone comedy, it's little surprise that it seems more like a Sennett comedy than a Roach comedy. In fact, the "mechanical man" plot was used several times by Sennett: 1917's "A Clever Dummy" with Ben Turpin springs to mind. The second half has him running a pawn shop and I don't have to tell you what that sounds like.
Stone seems more like a precursor of Harry Langdon, with his childlike attitude, than a more typical Roach character, grounded at least partially in the real world. Perhaps this was a style of comedy that Del Ruth hoped to foster, because most of the people that Stone encounters and annoys -- which are the same thing -- quickly grow impatient with him.
There are a couple of faces that will make this interesting for the folks who like to spot the stars before anyone knew who they were. Olive Borden shows up to run a scam, and Fay Wray can be spotted in a taxi. However this short, while never less than watchable, is not as good as one would wish. Particularly Hal Roach.
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