7.5/10
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6 user 4 critic

Soldier Man (1926)

After the armistice, one U.S. soldier remains unaccounted for: he's wandering the fields of Bomania, hungry, thinking the war is still on. (He was in a German prison camp, escaping while ... See full summary »

Director:

Harry Edwards

Writers:

Frank Capra, Al Giebler (titles) (as A.H. Giebler) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Harry Langdon ... The Soldier / King Strudel the 13th of Bomania
Natalie Kingston ... The Soldier's Wife / The Queen of Bomania
Vernon Dent ... The Prime Minister
Frank Whitson Frank Whitson ... General Von Snootzer
Yorke Sherwood Yorke Sherwood ... American General
S.D. Wilcox S.D. Wilcox ... Royal Guard (as SIlas D. Wilcox)
Andy Clyde ... Royal Philosopher (scenes deleted)
Andre Bailey Andre Bailey
Consuelo Dawn Consuelo Dawn ... (as Connie Dawn)
Muriel Montrose Muriel Montrose
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Storyline

After the armistice, one U.S. soldier remains unaccounted for: he's wandering the fields of Bomania, hungry, thinking the war is still on. (He was in a German prison camp, escaping while his captors celebrated the Great War's end.) Turns out, he's the spitting image of Bomania's King Strudel. The prime minister wants Strudel to sign a peace treaty ending civil war with a cousin. Bomania's General Von Snootzer wants the war to continue, so he contrives to derail the treaty. Strudel is a drunk, his queen hates him. Into the mix stumbles our dough boy. If he can pass for the king, maybe the treaty can continue. But what of the queen and her plans? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 May 1926 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mack Sennett Comedies See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Remade as Block-Heads (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

uneven but promising comedy
8 August 2016 | by kekseksaSee all my reviews

The emergence of Harry Langdon in 1924 was an important moment in the history of comedy and the baby-faced comic would enjoy an immediate and phenomenal success (which, alas for Langdon, would also prove ephemeral). Unlike the other great comics of the silent era (Linder, Chaplin, Keaton or Lloyd), Langdon was not really able to write his own material or mould his own distinctive character. In these early days, he was lucky in having an expert team behind him but, after some excellent shorts in 1924-1925 written (principally) by Arthur Ripley and directed mostly by Harry Edwards, they start to lose their rhythm (coinciding seemingly with the arrival in the writing-team of Frank Capra. This short has some good ideas but they are a bit hit-and-miss and the two parts of the story, the soldier who doesn't know the war has ended (the best part) and the parody of Rupert of Hentzau, do not fit together well and make the film a rather uneven pleasure.

With regard to the parody, The Priosner of Zenda (Hope's first Ruritanian novel) had been well filmed by Rex Ingram in 1922. The sequel Rupert of Hentzau had been filmed in 1923 (Selznick) but seems to have been a particularly bad film (I have not seen it and it may be lost). It had already been parodied (very feebly as Rupert of Hee Haw in 1924 by Stan Laurel). To judge from the parodies, it evidently emphasised the Ruritanian King's fondness for alcohol (not an important element in the book) which tended to render the story ridiculous as well as to providing a topical note during prohibition (which gets a specific mention in this Langdon film).

It is a better parody than Laurel's but most of the humour derives from the character's constant search for food (nothing to do with the parody as such and the only linking element between the two parts of the plot). The kissing scene is also parody, this time of a film of the same year, The Sea Beast, and works rather well. Millard Webb's The Sea Beast (a romanticised travesty of Melville's Moby Dick) was a huge hit and its most famous scene had the heroine, played by Dolores Costello, faint after being kissed by co-star (and real-life lover and future husband) John Barrymore, who plays Ahab. This film too attracted a good deal of attention from comics (the kiss and faint gag would recur periodically). The Sidney Smith film She Beast (1926 or 1927), where the hero has a domineering wife but dreams of sailing the seas with an all-female crew, is also a vague parody.

Animal-lovers will be glad to hear that Langdon does not blow up a cow, as stated by another reviewer; he merely thinks he has The cow has in fact long gone by the time the explosion occurs and the ribs come (proximately, at least) from an unattended basket of shopping.


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