This is rather a good Roach short starring James (Paul) Parrott, an underestimated comic by comparison with his more famous brother (Charley Chase). Parrott, little Sammy Brooks, Baker and Jones ("the strong guy" = the drunk) are all workers on a construction-sit run by violent and exploitative boss Noah Young and it is a "building a skyscraper" comedy, so there is all the usual nasty violence (but in a situation for once that is intrinsically nasty and violent) and the usual stunts on the scaffolding supposedly high above the Culver City streets, but performed here with a rather pleasing nonchalance.
There is no suspenseful pretence about the reality of the stunts - characters fall from what is supposed to be a great height or are hit by a falling wheelbarrow without of course coming to any real harm - and this is quite refreshing.
The Roach team works together particularly well here to give a feel of real working life (with the bugbears of industrial organisation - the time-keeper, played by Katharine Grant, and the building inspector, played by Jack Ackroyd). There is a real, if very soft, edge of satire.
There is no real story as such. Parrott gets his lunch stolen by a goat and his lunch-box invaded by kittens, so unwisely tries to steal something to eat from the boss. Otherwise it is just - a day in the life of the Break and Phall Construction Company. Parrott courts the time-keeper and keeps the score while his colleagues engage in a free-for-all brick-fight. Here again it is pleasant not to have to follow the usual frenetic and loosely-connected antics that pass for a plot in most slapstick shorts. It runs for about 12 minutes in the Pathescope version I have seen and I found it twelve minutes moderately well spent.
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