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The Cowcatcher's Daughter (1931)

"Old-fashioned rancher father Pop Martin wants his wayward daughter Marje to marry foreman Jim Brady just as soon as she leaves the finishing school he has sent her to make her behave ... See full summary »

Director:

Babe Stafford
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Cast

Cast overview:
Harry Gribbon ... Jim Brady
Marjorie Beebe ... Marge Martin
Andy Clyde ... Pop Martin
Frank Eastman Frank Eastman ... Frank Thornby
Marvin Loback Marvin Loback ... Farmhand
Hugh Saxon Hugh Saxon ... Minister
Pete Morrison ... Billy the Mule
Trixie the Horse Trixie the Horse ... Trixie
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Storyline

"Old-fashioned rancher father Pop Martin wants his wayward daughter Marje to marry foreman Jim Brady just as soon as she leaves the finishing school he has sent her to make her behave herself. Marje prefers dashing young cattle inspector Frank Thornby and runs away from school. Jim finds Marje and brings her home. Pop is waiting for his disobedient daughter. Marje has a lot of explaining to do, and a lot of cajoling if she's to marry Frank instead of Jim. A slapstick battle of wills follows between Pop and Marje." Written by iancraine@supanet.com

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Genres:

Short | Comedy | Western

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 May 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Horse's Tale See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mack Sennett Comedies See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
The Cow-catcher's Daughter, an amusing Sennett talkie short
6 June 2005 | by OldManWithDominoesSee all my reviews

MARJORIE BEEBE as Marge Martin, the ditzy and disobedient COWCATCHER'S DAUGHTER of the title, is supposed to be at an effete finishing school in the East. But she has run away and headed back West with her horse TRIXIE to join a travelling circus and Wild West Show.

"Cowcatcher's Daughter" is a charmingly eccentric MACK SENNETT two reel comedy Western but its provenance lies elsewhere. It is effectively a Harlequinade and its roots go way back into Europe. The Harlequinade began life in Italian Commedia dell' Arte and was later absorbed into British pantomime. It was the story of Harlequin's love for Columbine and their efforts to marry despite the opposition of Columbine's father Pantaloon who had already arranged for her to marry his man known as Fool or Clown.

Here we have a Harlequinade told from Columbine's point of view. Marjorie Beebe as Marge Martin is Columbine. Her father the great ANDY CLYDE as Pop Martin in an early incarnation of the old man role he was to make his own in countless shorts is a very close relation of the old Pantaloon character. He wants Marge to marry his doltish and clumsy foreman played by HARRY GRIBBON, like Clyde already a Sennett stalwart. Then Marge meets a handsome young travelling cattle inspector (FRANK EASTMAN). Harlequin has entered her life.

But this is Marjorie Beebe's film. She is really the equivalent of the three men put together. She puts in some delicious performances, behaving quite differently with each of the three men. She had joined Sennett at the end of the 1920s just as silent film was giving way to the talkies. She had played in silents for Fox and had made her name in THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER for which she got rave reviews; unfortunately the film has not survived.

Then in 1931 Mack Sennett produced "Cowcatcher's Daughter" which was directed by his young protégé BURL "BABE" STAFFORD and attempted in a 20 minute two reel short to capture some of the essence of the earlier feature film. He had been mightily impressed with Beebe's talent; he once said she had the potential to be the greatest screen comedienne of them all. Impressive words coming from the King of Comedy. Beebe became Sennett's last Queen of Slapstick.

In essence then "Cowcatcher's Daughter" is about Marge Martin's attempts to marry the cattle inspector and thwart the wishes of her father and his foreman, supposedly her fiancé. But Marge Martin is a Columbine for a new age and is a freer spirit entirely.

The circus and the finishing school are back-story; neither are featured- Beebe has left both by the time she first appears on screen- but they are essential prerequisites for what "Cowcatcher's Daughter" is really about, Andy Clyde's attempts to control his capricious and troublesome daughter. Beebe and Clyde are the stars of the show, the big beasts left in Mack Sennett's roster of actors; "Cowcatcher's Daughter" is a Harlequinade but the focus is not on Harlequin.

Not surprisingly old Pop Martin is hopping mad when he finds out what his daughter has been up to. He must have spent a pretty penny on that finishing school trying to make a young lady out of her. The foreman is sent to retrieve her and gets a lot of ribaldry on the return journey. Marge Martin is a charmer but she's an impudent charmer.

Pop is waiting for them back at the ranch. He told a ranch hand at the beginning of the proceedings that his daughter would be getting her bottom spanked just as soon as he got hold of her. Marge who still thinks she can charm and simper her way out of trouble is the last to know.

This first and best scene between Beebe and Clyde is a joy as Beebe immediately switches from her hoity-toity behaviour with Gribbon into the role of simpering daughter with her Pop. They play off each other perfectly and despite all manner of slapstick distractions the father for once has his way. Marge Martin, still in all her circus finery, ends the first reel buckskinned-bottom up over her exasperated old father's knee.

The second reel reverts to the Harlequinade proper. There is of course all to play for still. Marge persists in her attempts to evade the clutches of the foreman and the cattle inspector continues to press his suit. What will Pop Martin do? There are more romps too as Marge goes swimming in the nude and has a long "conversation" with Trixie the horse whom we learn fell hopelessly in love with a big Arab stallion at the circus. Pop and the foreman get themselves locked in the smokehouse where they do a merry dance on the hot coals as their cartridge belts start exploding. This is a funny and charming two reel short.

Sennett went bankrupt two years later and Beebe's career was effectively over with only a few bit parts in feature films before she retired for good in 1940. But in her day she was front page news and her undoubted talent is still evident.


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