Lloyd Hamilton in dual role in hilarious early-sound comedy short
From the first series of "Lloyd Hamilton Talking Comedies" from 1929, this begins with a glee-club vocal sung by prisoners behind bars, behind the opening credits as they roll. I've seen a few shorts beginning with glee club vocals from 29-30--was this just to present "sound" of any sort since the novelty had not yet worn off? In any event, this is a Lloyd Hamilton classic. Gangster leader Nick the Sheik (Hamilton) is released from jail and manages to run into "collector of rare coins" Vernon Snodgrass (also Hamilton), who looks exactly like him. With the cops after Nick AND Nick's old girlfriend wanting to get the romance cooking, you can imagine the confusion that ensues. The dual role really allows Hamilton to shine, and this master physical comedian steals the show. Rita La Roy (as the gangster's girl) is very sexy, with her short 20's hair, as she tries to seduce Hamilton--if anyone has her 1930 feature PLAYTHINGS OF Hollywood, I'd love a copy! For a 1929 short, this moves well and is quite fluid. Obviously, director William Watson learned quickly how to compensate for the drawbacks of sound recording technology. Definitely worth finding (it's on an old Grapevine compilation of Hamilton shorts).
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