"Soft Pedal" is the second comedy I've seen starring James "Paul" Parrott, the younger brother of Charley Chase who would find greater success later as a director. I enjoyed it, and based on my two films -- twenty minutes -- worth of evidence, I would disagree with those who would claim that he never had a well-defined screen character. Paul Parrott seems defined by a kind of cool, scheming indolence that's quite appealing. He's the kind of guy who -- in a very funny gag here -- gets a little boy to pour water on people from roofs so that he can make money in his job as an umbrella salesman.
There are a good number of goofy and inventive gags in evidence here, not always proceeding from character -- but the water pitcher doubling for doubling for Paul's supposed tears should be a sure laugh-getter. Unfortunately, "Soft Pedal" gets a little to caught up for its own good in its plot about Paul saving a pair of blackmailed musicians that doesn't really fit in the one-reel length of the comedy and so ends up as a fairly typical wild chase. In that sense it's not the best-constructed silent comedy, but it shows of its star nicely and contains some very funny material.
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