28 February 2006 | Snow Leopard
Good Comedy With Some Hilarious Moments
This is a good and sometimes hilarious Charley Chase comedy, with some lively sequences that combine humor and action. The setup fits in rather well with Chase's style, and he is helped by a good supporting cast that includes Martha Sleeper, Max Davidson, Fred Malatesta, and (in a small role) Oliver Hardy. The good-natured, upbeat approach makes it work despite a really goofy premise and some slightly dated details.
Sleeper plays a princess who, as the result of a humorously implausible combination of circumstances, marries Chase's hapless character. They are opposed by a ruthless strongman (played by Malatesta), who plots to seize power for himself. The contrast between Chase, who just looks so good-natured, and Malatesta, who just looks slippery and untrustworthy, is used well. The highlight is the lengthy duel sequence, which is quite funny and often pretty creative.
Davidson's character is especially interesting, because it is so strongly stereotyped, yet he is inoffensive often quite amusing. In large part, this is because the character is treated kindly, and the laughs come with him, not at his expense. Davidson also gives a good performance that exaggerates the character to the right degree, openly acknowledging that it is a stereotype, and keeping it good-natured rather than mean-spirited. As one of the previous commentators also mentioned, Davidson steals more than one scene by the way that he handles his comic opportunities.