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The Chaser (1928)

A wife, tired of her husband's non-stop carousing, sues him for divorce. The judge, however, comes up with a novel solution--he makes the husband take his wife's place in the household--... See full summary »


Harry Langdon


Robert Eddy, Al Giebler (titles) (as A.H. Giebler) | 3 more credits »


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Cast overview:
Harry Langdon ... The Husband
Gladys McConnell ... The Wife
Helen Hayward Helen Hayward ... The Wife's Mother
Bud Jamison ... The Husband's Buddy
Charles Thurston Charles Thurston ... The Judge


A wife, tired of her husband's non-stop carousing, sues him for divorce. The judge, however, comes up with a novel solution--he makes the husband take his wife's place in the household--including dressing like her--for 30 days to see what it's like to be his wife. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You'll Never Know How Many Laughs There Are In One Day Until You've Seen Harry Langdon in "The Chaser" See more »









Release Date:

12 February 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Schürzenjäger See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In an interview ten years after this film was released, director/star Harry Langdon referred to The Chaser and its follow-up Heart Trouble as "two of the lousiest pictures ever made." He added that he couldn't bring himself to attend the premiere of either film. See more »

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User Reviews

Watch, if you dare, as a baby-faced man in drag commits career suicide
20 June 2007 | by wmorrow59See all my reviews

Harry Langdon was a uniquely gifted silent clown with a style all his own. Several of the short comedies he made for Mack Sennett in the mid-1920s retain their quirky charm, and the first two features he starred in hold up quite well, but as soon as Harry took over the reins and started producing and directing his own movies he fumbled the job, and managed to wreck his career with dizzying speed. In Three's a Crowd, Langdon's first solo job, he took a promising premise and squandered it through awkward timing, weak gags, and sticky sentimentality, but his second self-produced effort The Chaser makes its predecessor look like a masterpiece. This time, Harry took a story idea that's wrong-headed and distasteful from the start, and created a movie which I for one find impossible to enjoy.

The introductory title cards suggest that this is a battle of the sexes comedy with a male bias, i.e. the Innocent Husband versus those Unreasonable Harpies who make his life hell. Other comedians have ventured into this dicey territory and created something worthwhile (think of Laurel & Hardy, Charley Chase, W. C. Fields, etc.) but Harry's first mistake here was to stack the deck so thoroughly in his own favor. We're commanded to feel sorry for him from the get-go. During the film's opening sequence Harry's wife and mother-in-law take turns chewing him out over the phone, while he sits motionless, listening. The poor guy's crime, it turns out, is that he's been staying out at his lodge every night until 8:30, and the womenfolk are furious. Isn't that just like a woman, being so unfair? Once he comes home the situation escalates between Harry and his mother-in-law to an alarming degree, to the point where she becomes crazed and pulls a gun on him. All three principles wind up in court, but Harry gets all the blame, and is slapped with a truly bizarre sentence by the judge. Get this: in order to "realize his responsibilities" as a husband, Harry must stay at home in a dress for 30 days doing housework while his wife dons men's clothing and goes off to some unspecified office to be the breadwinner.

Okay, no one should expect gender issue 'correctness' from a comedy made in 1928, but this is just twisted. And it gets worse: although Harry's emasculation consists of little more than being forced to make breakfast for his gruff, male-attired wife (admittedly while he's wearing a skirt), his misery is emphasized at the expense of any humor. When Harry sadly looks outside, the barred window he's gazing through is clearly meant to resemble that of a jail-house. Oh, but there's saucy comedy relief to perk things along: every peddler, milkman and ice man who appears at the door instantly assumes that Harry is the lady of the house -- although he looks like his usual self from the waist up -- and makes a pass at him. Yuck! Before long, naturally enough, Harry is ready to end it all and attempts suicide, but instead of taking poison he accidentally takes cod liver oil. After he races to the toilet the camera lingers for a very long moment on the darkened hallway, giving us lots of time to ponder the physical effect of the laxative. Is it my imagination, or has our star comedian lost his hold on the average viewer by this point? And it gets even worse! When Harry's wife arrives on the scene she mistakenly believes that her husband has actually killed himself, and the camera lingers on a seemingly endless close-up of the woman as she sobs miserably, making her mascara run. (Many years later, leading lady Gladys McConnell revealed that the mascara gag was her idea, and expressed regret that it was used.) I guess the mascara smeared under her eyes was supposed to get a laugh.

Along about this point I think Mr. Langdon must have recognized that his movie was sinking fast, so he turned the second half into a retread of one of his best Sennett comedies, Saturday Afternoon. Rotund Bud Jamison (filling in for rotund Vernon Dent) shows up, rescues Harry from his drudgery, gets him back into manly slacks and takes him off to the golf course. It's a relief to us all, but the ensuing routines feel uninspired and a little desperate. And then, to demonstrate that wearing that skirt didn't turn him into a sissy, Harry encounters some girls frolicking in a park, kisses a few at random and makes them swoon. How? Why? By this point it doesn't much matter. Towards the end, when Harry's car plummets down a slope he crashes through a billboard advertising a movie called "Over the Hill," but the gag takes on an unhappy double meaning as we consider the trajectory of the star's career.

The nicest thing I can say in conclusion is that Langdon's failures are just as quirky and off-the-wall as his successes, but his successes sure are a lot more fun to watch. After sitting through this ill-begotten misfire you'll want to rush back to The Strong Man to remind yourself how Harry Langdon earned his reputation as a great clown in the first place.

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