Octavius, an ambitious amateur detective, has just purchased a new automobile when he reads about a rash of auto thefts in the area. He is determined to investigate, and as he is traveling around town, he meets a young woman named Ruth, who asks him for a ride. But soon afterward, Ruth distracts Octavius, steals his car, and rushes to a church where her fiancé is waiting to marry her in secret. Outraged by her deception, Octavius himself steals a parked car and chases her. As he speeds along, a police officer sees him and joins the chase. Meanwhile, Ruth's parents are also racing after her, determined to prevent her elopement. Written by
Entertaining Story Makes Up For Somewhat Careless Technique
This short comedy has a funny and entertaining story that makes up for its technique, which is often rather careless and slipshod. Either it was filmed and edited hurriedly, or else perhaps they simply thought that the story was amusing enough that it would work without much help. If the latter was indeed the case, they were right, but the material was here for a top-quality comedy if it had been made with a little more skill.
The story combines an ambitious but bombastic amateur detective, Octavius (a character played in a number of movies of the time by Barry O'Moore), with the adventures of a young eloping couple. When their fates become tangled together, a complicated chase ensues, with the principals joined by the young woman's parents, some officers of the law, and various others. It's quite a funny situation, and after the chases there is a long sequence when everyone comes together and attempts to sort things out.
Each sequence is filmed with a completely static camera frame, as was still often the case at the time. A couple of them are set up nicely so as to catch a lot of action without shifting to a new shot, but others show a lack of planning. In a number of scenes, the actors and vehicles move in and out of the frame in a confusing fashion, and at other times, the editing leaves too much dead time. The opening and closing sequences also take up too much screen time that would have been better devoted to expanding some of the potentially funnier scenes in the middle.
It's still fun to watch because of the story, and because the Octavius character works pretty well, with his undying zealousness and his exaggerated overconfidence. A more skilled director, either then or now, could have made a really good movie out of the story, but even as it is, it's worth seeing if you enjoy silent comedies.
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