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  • Eddie Cantor was already an established stage star when his Broadway musical-comedy "Kid Boots" opened in December of 1923. He'd been headlining annual editions of the Ziegfeld Follies since 1917, and had toured the country in Vaudeville for years before that. "Kid Boots" proved to be a smash hit that ran for over a year (an impressive run in those days) but when Paramount signed Cantor to recreate his role for the cameras it was no sure bet that the venture would succeed. Movies were still silent, of course, and much of Eddie's appeal depended on sound: he was known for singing comic novelty songs in a high, reedy voice, and delivering wisecracks at a rapid pace. His Ziegfeld co-stars Will Rogers and W.C. Fields had tried their luck in the movies and although both were moderately successful their silent film appearances were never as popular with audiences as their live shows. Was there any reason to expect Eddie Cantor could do any better?

    Well, oddly enough, he did. Kid Boots, the movie, is a highly enjoyable confection that packs a lot of laughs into its brisk 60-minute running time and never wears out its welcome. Mr. Cantor comes off surprisingly well in his silent incarnation, throwing himself into some strenuous-looking physical routines and emphasizing his trademark look of pop-eyed surprise at key moments without overdoing it. It helps that the writers equipped him with a steady supply of sight gags, some of which may be a tad familiar to silent comedy buffs but which still prompt laughter today. (I was lucky enough to see this film with an audience, and can attest that it's a real crowd-pleaser.) It also helps that the supporting cast offers notable examples of what was called 'feminine pulchritude' at the time: Eddie is paired with the one and only Clara Bow, seen here just as her career was starting to accelerate. Eddie and Clara make an unexpectedly credible couple, both bright-eyed and exuberant. They have a classic "meet cute" scene when Eddie, who plays a tailor's assistant, accidentally sews his suspenders to her dress and then pulls her along behind himself when he has to leave in a hurry. Also on hand is the exquisitely pretty Billie Dove, who unfortunately isn't given much to do, as well as fiery Natalie Kingston, a veteran of the Mack Sennett Studio, who plays 'bad girl' Carmen Mendoza. We're told by a sassy title card that Carmen has Missouri legs, "the kind that have to be shown," and a nice lazy pan shot of Miss Kingston provides that service. I guess the filmmakers were trying to compensate for the loss of the stage show's dancing girls; in any case, I'm not complaining!

    The plot, as might be anticipated, isn't what you'd call substantial. Eddie, a hapless fellow known as "Kid Boots," is rescued from a bully by a handsome young playboy named Tom; in return, Kid agrees to help Tom get a divorce from his gold-digging wife. (It's made clear that the scheming wife, the aforementioned Carmen Mendoza, tricked Tom into marriage and that they've never actually lived together; so, in short, Tom's a decent chap who simply found himself in a spot of trouble.) Most of the story takes place at a scenic mountain resort, a setting which allows for gags on the golf course, gags by the pool, and more gags in the lobby. The thin plot is really just an excuse for comedy routines, and happily there are some good ones along the way. I especially liked the bit where Eddie succeeds in convincing Clara that he's with another woman by positioning himself next to an open door, rolling up one sleeve and playing the half-concealed "woman" himself. I also enjoyed the scene in the resort's clinic, where Eddie finds himself on the massage table, manhandled by a masseur who turns out to be the bully from the opening sequence, jealous of Clara and eager for revenge. (Chaplin fans will be reminded of a similar routine in his 1917 comedy The Cure.) It all winds up with a breakneck, race-to-the-rescue horseback chase over a winding mountain trail, which leads in turn to some Harold Lloyd-style thrill comedy. One moment, Eddie and Clara are dangling from a rope off a precipice, with a single parachute between them, and the next they've managed to save themselves, untangle the plot, help out good old Tom and defeat that no-good Carmen, all in the space of the film's last five minutes.

    This movie is just the thing to lift your mood on a rainy afternoon. Cantor's follow-up feature Special Delivery is also enjoyable, but I'd rank this one a notch or two higher. Kid Boots, like its lead players, is cute as a button, short and sweet.
  • Eddie Cantor (Samuel 'Kid' Boots) becomes a witness for Lawrence Gray (Tom Sterling), who trying to divorce his gold digger wife Billie Dove (Eleanore Belmore). They go to a resort to avoid the wife until the date of the divorce case, but the wife's shyster lawyer tracks them there. There he meets Clara Bow (Clara McCoy) who falls for him, but he has several runins with her boyfriend Malcolm Waite (Big Boyle) and with the wife. After an exciting chase, he arrives at the court house to help finalize the divorce and also gets the girl.

    Many really funny sequences.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In 1926 Clara was already making "lurid love" headlines - a blue blooded ne'er do well had milked a day's dalliance with Clara into a steamy love affair and the papers lapped it up - Clara called it "Just an episode in my young life". Paramount decided to cash in on the notoriety and rushed "Kid Boots" into production. Paramount bought the Ziegfeld musical comedy (489 performances on Broadway) for $75,000, then spent $275,000 on production costs - ten times that of any Preferred Picture (Clara's old studio). Eddie Cantor was hired to re-create his Kid Boots role on film and the studio also changed the name of the movie's heroine from Jane Martin to Clara McCoy, to help audience identify Clara as the "captivating, heart snatching heroine". A silent film adaptation of a Broadway musical comedy didn't sound a receipe for success but the appeal of Cantor's comic bumblings and the added attraction of cute Clara and the astonishing beauty of Billie Dove made it an immediate hit.

    "By July the postmen have delivered quite a few of the Valentines posted in February" (What's changed!!!) Tailor's assistant Kid Boots (Eddie Cantor) receives a particularly nasty one but when he meets Clara McCoy (Clara Bow) - she doesn't care for looks, she just "wants 'em reliable". He meets Tom (Lawrence Grey) who is having his own women problems. He is about to be divorced from gold digging Carmen Mendoza (Natalie Kingston), who now wants him back after she has read that he is inheriting $3 million. Tom hides away at a golf resort, posing as a professional (with Kid Boots as his caddy) - he cannot be found until Thursday, when his divorce becomes final. He meets Eleanor (the ultra gorgeous Billie Dove, the role was played by Mary Eaton on Broadway) - the kind of girl "at a mountain resort that makes the other girls wish they went to the seaside". Kid also becomes reacquainted with Clara (she is a swimming instructress at the lodge) but the path of true love never runs smooth and there is a very funny sequence in which Kid pretends to entertain a vamp in order to make Clara jealous. He succeeds and Clara leaves the cafe in tears but then the real vamp enters with designs on our hero!!! It is Carmen and her aim is to get rid of Kid Boots so she can compromise Tom and stop the divorce going through.

    There is a hilarious comedy sequence at the end where Clara and Kid ride galloping horses over a steep mountain path, fall over the side and are roped to safety, only to come face to face with Kid's nemesis - Clara's old flame!!! I don't think Eddie Cantor caused the Big 3 of Comedy (Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd) any sleepless nights although Cantor had a funny skit very reminiscent of Chaplin's "The Cure" - it involved a massage table, a very enthusiastic masseur and lots of contortions. "Kid Boots" is still a very diverting piece of twenties fun!!!

    Highly Recommended.
  • Dave-Nelson-UK10 November 2015
    Warning: Spoilers
    What a fantastic film , this was Eddie Cantors first forage into motion pictures , i read that Clara helped him address the camera , as he was prone to delivering his performance up towards the perceived audience , shame nobody could help Clara with her microphone fright later in her career .

    The film is standard Boy meets Girl , well boys meet Girls ,the casting is spot on , Clara's star was rising the next year she would make "It" and become world famous .

    A fantastic film all the players do there bit the direction and editing move it along nicely

    fabulous fun, bless all those stars of old
  • Fired from his job in a tailor's shop, comic Eddie Cantor (as Samuel "Kid" Boots) becomes companion to handsome millionaire Lawrence Gray (as Thomas "Tom" Sterling). The men find work as golf instructor and caddy at a country club, while Mr. Gray waits for his divorce to become final. There, Mr. Cantor re-encounters pretty swimming instructor Clara Bow (as Clara McCoy), from the opening skit, which he played out with her burly boyfriend Malcolm Waite (as "Big" Boyle).

    At the club, Cantor goes crazy for Ms. Bow while Gray romances beautiful Billie Dove (as Eleanor Belmore), the boss' daughter. Meanwhile, Gray's leggy wife Natalie Kingston (as Carmen Mendoza) checks into the room next to her husband, to cause trouble. She proceeds to "vamp" Cantor aside, in order to spend the night alone with Gray; if she is able to do this, their divorce won't become final, and she can partake of his inherited millions. Cantor must save Gray and win Bow.

    This was a successful film debut for stage star Cantor, who might have joined Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd if this had been released a decade earlier. As a film, "Kid Boots" may not equal the best of those other comedians' works, but you can see Cantor had the silent stuff. Most impressive is the film's exciting end, which features a very impressive cliff-hanging sequence. This is pure cinema, but Cantor includes great stage bits, too. How he makes Bow jealous, and scenes with Mr. Waite are highlights.

    ******** Kid Boots (10/4/26) Frank Tuttle ~ Eddie Cantor, Clara Bow, Malcolm Waite, Lawrence Gray
  • A delight I caught at the Film Forum in New York City 5/00 (very nice 35 mm. print). Eddy Cantor (not once in blackface) excellent as a former tailor hooked up with the wealthy Laurence Gray. Cantor's his valet, caddy and advisor (women are after Gray's millions). Cantor is crazy about Clara Bow (her first screen role)and there are lots of chases and hilarity. Billy Dove (of Ziegfeld fame) is featured.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Grapevine distributed two excellent DVDs produced by the Eddie Cantor Appreciation Society.

    His first film, Kid Boots (1926), was an adaptation of Florenz Ziegfeld's 1923 Broadway musical success, complete with ho-hum story line, but minus all the songs and production numbers.

    Fortunately, a most agreeable support cast headed by Clara Bow, Billie Dove, Natalie Kingston and George Waite (Eddie's nemesis) manage to give the routine plot quite a bit of life, despite the script's tendency to over-indulge its star with tried-and-true vaudeville sketches and tedious slapstick.

    Hard to believe that Frank Tuttle was responsible for the largely uninspired direction.

    On the same disc, fortunately, is a 1928 short, A Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic, which, despite a static camera and clumsy editing, successfully recreates a Cantor appearance on the rooftop of the New Amsterdam. He sings three songs too!
  • Eddie Cantor hit the ground running in Hollywood with what has to be one of the most opened-out stage adaptations in film history. What started life as a Broadway musical has become a high-octane silent comedy filmed extensively out and about on location in California, bludgeoning the audience with a steady succession of vivid sight gags and ending with a remarkably convincing-looking (and funny) climax worthy of Harold Lloyd with the leads hanging from a sheer cliff face. Despite being famed for his singing and his distinctive voice, Eddie has the perfect face (and facility for physical comedy) to be a natural for silent movies; and is beautifully matched by a most winsome Clara Bow.
  • ... this is a 1926 silent starring Eddie Cantor in the title role and costarring Clara Bow. This film is a great treat because we get to see how the musical comedy "Kid Boots" was turned into an effective silent film. Kid Boots works in a tailor's shop and is about to get a beating from the beau of Clara McCoy (Clara Bow) when he is saved from harm by Tom Sterling (Lawrence Gray). Likewise, when Tom's soon-to-be ex-wife tries to prove that they have been reunited so she can annul their divorce decree and get in on Tom's recent large inheritance, Kid Boots comes to the rescue and claims the two have not been alone together. I know this sounds strange, but chalk it up to divorce law in the early 20th century. Tom then runs off with Kid Boots - his witness - to a mountain resort until the time for his final divorce decree to become final has come and gone to evade his ex-wife's trickery.

    At the resort Tom meets a girl that he falls for, and Kid Boots runs into Clara McCoy again, still accompanied by her brutish boyfriend. Clara prefers Kid Boots because she "prefers reliable men to good-looking ones" a title card tells us. At the resort Tom's ex-wife and her lawyers soon follow, along with all of the comic routines and mix-ups that you're accustomed to seeing in Cantor's sound films, if you've been fortunate enough to view those rarely seen comic gems. The film is quite good and it didn't surprise me that it was a Paramount silent that someone else had restored and presented.