This is one of several shorts a young Danny Kaye made with Educational Pictures just before the low-budget comedy studio went out of business. Here he plays a very unlucky Russian who is chased by two huge-bearded would-be assassins into an insurance office, where an eager salesman pushes a policy on him, only to have to protect his life afterward. The rest of this two-reeler is just as delightfully absurdist and bizarre as that.
You can tell it's a cheap, quick production (the sets wobble constantly) and Charles Kemper, sharing the billing with Kaye, doesn't make too much of an impression, but I love the short's wild, unreal sense of humor. It's almost like a series of blackouts that don't actually black out, building on the absurdity of the premise, with plenty of great one-liners ("Haven't I seen you before?" "Well, I've been somewhere before.") impossible sight gags (the window-washer's clothes leak after he has been shot at), and increasingly silly dramatic-irony gags on the safeness of Nikolai Nikolayevich.
Danny Kaye's over-the-top exaggeration of a heel-clicking Russian works great in the over-the-top exaggeration of a comedy movie. I haven't loved him in everything I've seen, and I don't know if that character could support a whole series of shorts well, but here his shtick fits the piece perfectly. If you like free-form, goofy comedy and don't mind plenty of non-sequitors and impossible gags this is well worth a look.
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