20 August 2008 | MartinHafer
Practically a full-length film
This is a Harry Langdon short film made for Mack Sennett and is included with the "Harry Langdon: Lost and Found" four DVD set.
At 48 minutes, it's hard to think of this as a short, though the DVD set is made up of his surviving shorts. After watching it, I suspect that originally this was a full-length film as it looks as if in one spot a portion of the film is missing. Considering some abrupt transitions and how obvious the damage was in some portions, I think there is some missing film and would love to see this movie one day fully restored.
Harry is graduating college and eager to get married and settle down and raise a family. The trouble is that his fiancée has no real interest in Harry--just his money. At the same time, unknown to everyone, her sweet sister loves Harry for who he is.
Harry's uncle, the fire chief, hates women--having already been unsuccessfully married several times. Thinking he's doing Harry a favor, he calls the fiancée and tells her that Harry is broke--and soon she's out looking for another man. In fact, when the uncle rescues her in a fire, she vamps him and Harry comes upon them as the uncle and his girl are kissing--crushing poor Harry.
However, the sister sees him there at the fire and gets an idea to pretend to be stuck in a fire and get Harry to come to her rescue--and win Harry's heart. Considering that Harry is alone in the fire house, he reluctantly agrees to do the job himself--and by the end he's discovered the love of a truly worthy (but wacky) woman.
Although there were two pretty much unrelated scenes that occurred rather abruptly, these are pretty good and should be mentioned. One is a cute scene where a lady pickpocket is avoiding the police. She hits poor Harry over the head and switches clothes with him. Seeing Harry walking around town in drag was awfully funny--not something to be missed. The other is when he meets and old friend and goes home with him--only to find the friend and his wife AND the neighbors are all very, very unhappily married. Seeing these crazy couples fight is pretty funny for the soon to be married Harry.
So, this film has a decent number of laughs and a nice story as well. The only negatives are some poor transitions that, like I said above, probably come from having some loss of film stock due to the ravages of time. However, none of this seriously negatively impacts the film and it's one of Langdon's best.
FYI--In a very short scene, Harry enters a department store and mistakes a mannequin leg for a lady's leg. A better variation of this gag appeared in his first film, PICKING PEACHES.