A Scottish immigrant on board ship becomes a pawn in a jewel heist aboard the S.S. Cognac, a three-star liner. Blackie Dawson, the uncrowned king of jewel thieves, and his accomplice Pearl ...
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A Scottish immigrant on board ship becomes a pawn in a jewel heist aboard the S.S. Cognac, a three-star liner. Blackie Dawson, the uncrowned king of jewel thieves, and his accomplice Pearl Blackstone, have stolen a huge ruby. A detective is searching every cabin, so Blackie forces our young Scot to swallow the gem and, under threat of being shot, to stay mum. The detective is assisted by Flora Danube, a blue-eyed Bulgarian daisy who keeps those eyes open. To escape death, the young Scot disguises himself as a woman, but that draws a lot of attention; when his disguise is discovered, he must climb for his life. Is a European union in the offing?Written by
"The Sea Squawk" was apparently held back from release for some time while the rights to use the title -- a parody of "The Sea Hawk" -- could be secured. I don't know why some other sea-related title wasn't just used instead, as this is certainly not direct parody.
This is not the strongest of Harry Langdon's series of two-reel comedies for Mack Sennett from the 1920s, but it's still a very funny film. It looks much cheaper somehow than the rest of the series. Director Harry Edwards couldn't have done much to help that -- he actually does a great job with the material, maximizing the humor from Langdon. It's largely because this is a comedy set at sea but clearly shot nowhere near the water, forcing what seems to be a grey drop to be used instead. Also a gag involving a cat in Harry's clothes ends up using a patently false cat-tail for effect.
There is more time spent dwelling on "plot" here than usual, or it seems so because said plot, thin as it is, develops largely separately from Harry, our nominal protagonist. This doesn't hurt the humor too much -- a great deal of the first reel consists of Harry (Scottish here, apparently, as he's in a kilt) reacting very funnily to the presence of an armed thug in his room, and then to having swallowed the stolen jewel he is trying to hide away. There is some great business, and some great black humor, with gags revolving around Harry's childish reactions combined with situations revolving around vomiting and implied defecation. A great bit shows us that Harry doesn't even consider these, though, and imagines he will be cut up to recover the jewel! The second reel mainly revolves around Harry disguised as a woman (and, of course, becoming the object of men's affections) and other more generic gags around the ship's ball. They are well-played and funny, though, having been well set up by the previous a act.
The typical gangsters and man-in-drag material might not make for the greatest of Harry Langdon's shorts, but Langdon and Harry Edwards get a lot of credit for making it a very funny comedy that still works well with his character.
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