4.2/10
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9 user 2 critic

One Too Many (1916)

When his uncle arrives for a visit, Plump has to find a wife and baby in a hurry. With the help of his friend, Runt, soon there are wives and babies everywhere.

Director:

Will Louis
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Cast

Cast overview:
Oliver Hardy ... Plump (as Babe Hardy)
Billy Ruge ... Runt
Billy Bletcher ... Unhappy Boarder
Joe Cohen Joe Cohen
Edna Reynolds Edna Reynolds ... Newlywed
Madelyn Hardy Madelyn Hardy ... Woman on street
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Storyline

Plump, a bachelor wastrel who drinks too much and sleeps until noon, learns that his uncle, who thinks Plump is married with a baby, will arrive for a visit in two hours. He throws cash at the building's errand "boy," a small man who goes about grabbing or renting small children from their mothers then bribing various women to pose as Plump's wife. As Uncle John's arrival nears, Plump in desperation swaddles the errand boy and puts him in the crib. With various infants and women coming in and out, and several men looking for their lost babies or lost wives, will Plump pull off his deception? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 February 1916 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Uno es demasiado See more »

Filming Locations:

Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Vim Comedy Film Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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User Reviews

 
Too many babies, not enough laughs.
22 August 2005 | by F Gwynplaine MacIntyreSee all my reviews

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy had extensive (separate) film careers before they were eventually teamed. For many of Ollie's pre-Stan films, he was billed on screen as Babe Hardy ... and throughout his adult life, Hardy was known to his friends as 'Babe'. While touring postwar Britain with Laurel in a music-hall act for Bernard Delfont, Hardy gave an interview to journalist John McCabe in which he explained the origin of this nickname: early in his acting career, Hardy got a shave from a gay hairdresser who squeezed Hardy's plump cheeks (the ones on his face) and said 'Nice baby!' Hardy's workmates started crying him 'Babe', and the nickname stuck.

Although much of Hardy's pre-Laurel work is very interesting -- notably his comedy roles in support of Larry Semon and the Chaplin imitator Billy West -- his teamwork with Billy Ruge (who?) in a series of low-budget shorts for the Vim Comedy Film Company is very dire indeed. Hardy and Ruge were given the screen names Plump and Runt: names which are unpleasant in their own right, but made worse because Ruge (although shorter than Hardy) isn't especially a runt. Seen here, Hardy looks much as he does in his early Hal Roach films with Laurel ... but without the spit curls and the fastidious little moustache.

'One Too Many', an absolutely typical Plunt and Runt epic, is direly unfunny ... and its dreichness is made even more conspicuous by the fact that this film has exactly the same premise as 'That's My Wife', one of Laurel and Hardy's most hilarious films. Plump (Hardy) is the star boarder in a rooming-house run by a tall gawky landlady. Runt (Ruge) is the porter. Plump receives a letter from his wealthy uncle John, whose dosh he expects to inherit. His uncle is coming to see him and to meet Plump's wife and baby. There's only one problem: Plump hasn't got a wife and baby. He's been lying to his uncle in order to seem a family man. Now, of course, Plump expects Runt to find him a wife and baby on short notice. Of course, the results are disastrous. It would be nice if those disastrous results were funny, but they aren't. Most of the unfunny humour here is just empty slapstick, with characters settling their arguments by shoving each other into bathtubs.

SPOILERS COMING. Vim director Will Louis (who?) shows no instinct for camera framing: the actress who plays the landlady is significantly taller than Hardy, and Louis consistently sets up his shots so that her head is out of frame. This could be funny if done on purpose, but it's merely inept. At one point in this bad comedy, an extremely tasteless gag is looming on the horizon as Runt approaches a black laundress. 'Surely they wouldn't stoop THAT low for a laugh,' I thought. But they do. Runt steals the woman's black infant and tries to fob this off as Plump's progeny.

Somehow, Plump acquires an infant's cot, but he still hasn't got a baby. With Uncle John coming up the stairs, Plump conscripts Runt for babyhood. This gag might just possibly have worked with a midget, or even with a truly runt-sized actor such as Chester Conklin, but Billy Ruge is only slightly below average height. Ruge's impersonation of a baby is neither believable nor funny, and Uncle John would have to be a complete moron to fall for it. Amazingly, he does!

The most notable aspect of 'One Too Many' is a brief appearance -- apparently her only-ever film appearance -- by Madelyn Saloshin, Oliver Hardy's first wife. The marriage was not a happy one, although Hardy's marital troubles never attained the epic proportions of Stan Laurel's.

Only one thing in this movie impressed me. There is a very brief flashback sequence, with Hardy reminiscing about his seaside romance with a bathing beauty. In 1916, there was still not yet a standard film grammar for conveying flashbacks: the one shown here is done gracefully and simply. Too bad this movie has no other merits. 'One Too Many' is definitely one film too many on Oliver Hardy's CV, and I'll rate this movie just one point out of 10. Laurel and Hardy together are definitely much funnier than either of them separately.


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