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The king is a juvenile dolt who tries the patience of the shrewish queen. While she's in the throne room awaiting him, he's outside playing with guns, drilling his soldiers, and dallying with the wife of a new minister. The queen catches him kissing her, her husband figures out that something fishy is going on, and the king tries his best to proceed with his plans for a night out. The queen contrives to keep him cuffed in the bedroom: king, queen, minister, and coquette end up in a game of musical beds. Will his royal highness get his night out?Written by
Harry Langdon's final short for Hal Roach continues playing with elements of his 'Baby' character that we saw in his previous short THE SHRIMP. His performance here in the title role of THE KING is not the same royalty that he essayed in his Sennett short SOLDIER MAN (26), where he was classic Harry masquerading as a king. In that film a vamp attempts to seduce Harry in the royal bedroom but he is too distracted by a bowl of fruit!!! This king is a far cry from that Harry . He is still confused and distracted and stammers when he speaks but he is also a skirt-chasing, self-absorbed man-child. He spends his days avoiding the company of the Queen (the beauteous Thelma Todd) so that he may dally with the various court maidens. Miss Todd was cast in almost all of the Langdon-Roach shorts and just as curiously was under employed in every one of them. In this, their final appearance together, she was finally given a comedic role that justified her ability to support a great comedian. She plays a shrewish harpy but it doesn't take us long to figure out that more than likely she was turned into that by the antics of her errant husband. Since this womanizer is played by Harry it is not too surprising that he continually gets caught. There is a glorious moment when Thelma spies Harry in the arms of a young maiden and comes storming across the lawn, her royal train billowing into the wind as her bevy of hand maidens frantically try to keep up. The sight of the approaching Queen is enough to send the King's guards scurrying. As usual, Harry is the last to notice and when he finally does he plays tag with his wife as he ducks and dodges her and the mile long train.
Langdon is quite funny as both a flirt and as someone who enjoys his power. All of it is juxtaposed by the singular image he projects in his full regal glory. His Tudor garb of billowing sleeves and baggy white tights accentuates his doughy physique and makes his reputation of a lady killer all the more ridiculous. It is too bad that Langdon and Roach parted company after this film for, just as the other Roach series needed a short adjustment period getting use to sound, they were starting to hit a stride. As it is we are left with this sublimely, farcical film as a fitting tribute to Harry Langdon's year at the Hal Roach studio.
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