Hotter Than Hot (1929)

Harry is trapped with a blonde in a burning building.

Director:

Lewis R. Foster

Writer:

H.M. Walker
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Cast

Cast overview:
Harry Langdon ... Harry
Thelma Todd ... Thelma
Edgar Kennedy ... Jack
Eddie Dunn
Jill Dennett ... (as Edith Kramer)
Frank Austin
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Storyline

Harry is trapped with a blonde in a burning building.

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Plot Keywords:

two reeler | See All (1) »

Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Trivia

Hal Roach Studios production number S-24. See more »

User Reviews

 
Harry Talks! . . . but we can't hear him
12 August 2020 | by wmorrow59See all my reviews

This is a film I've heard about for ages, but never thought I'd see. Hotter Than Hot was Harry Langdon's first talkie, as well as the first two-reel comedy he made for the Hal Roach Studio. It was long believed to be lost, but in recent years both reels have been recovered intact. Unfortunately the sound track, which was recorded on discs, has not been located. Even so, this rarity was included in a recent DVD release of Langdon's output for Roach, supplemented with subtitles and a piano score, and happily it's quite enjoyable in its present form. Much of Harry's comic shtick comes across visually, while Thelma Todd and Edgar Kennedy provide their usual fine support.

The story was adapted from a stage sketch called "The Messenger" which Langdon performed in vaudeville during the 1928-9 season. At this point his film career was in serious trouble, after the box office failure of several features he'd made for First National, but Roach was willing to take a chance on him, and signed him to star in a series of sound shorts. Langdon told the press his vaudeville stint was intended to improve his voice for the talkies. (Which may be true as far as it goes, but he also needed the ready cash.) In the subsequent comedies he made for Roach-that is, the ones with surviving soundtracks-it's evident his voice suited his odd, grownup baby-man persona.

In Hotter Than Hot, our star comedian looks and acts very much as he did in his best Sennett comedies from a few years earlier. (Hard to believe he's in his mid-40s here.) We meet Harry when he shows up unexpectedly at Thelma's apartment, carrying a note for her. As ever he seems other-worldly, as if he just arrived from his own planet. One new element to his persona is on display: he's something of a pyromaniac. We learn in a flashback Harry was chasing a fire truck when a stranger (Edgar Kennedy) approached him with a note to deliver to the young lady. As an added inducement, he is presented with his own cigarette lighter, which fascinates him, so he agrees to act as messenger.

Comic bits include Harry skidding on the slippery floor, misplacing the note he's supposed to deliver, and handing over the wrong document. In a rather risqué routine he sits with Thelma and a doll, then confuses the doll's legs (and undergarments) with Thelma's. In the finale Edgar bursts in and chaos ensues, complete with an amusing fadeout gag involving the fire department.

It's possible the soundtrack discs may yet turn up, which would certainly be great news for Langdon fans, but Hotter Than Hot is a fun comedy even in its present form. Meanwhile, we can be grateful the film survives and is available to be enjoyed.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 August 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hot Stuff See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Roach Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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