6 February 2018 | boblipton
And That Made All the Difference
With the coming of sound to motion pictures, the universality of the medium was lost. Pantomime was downgraded, and speech upgraded, and changing language was no longer a matter of replacing titles. For a few years, the studios produced versions of their films in several languages, often with different casts. For Hal Roach, with his star comedians, it was not such an easy proposition. He could replace almost all the cast, but people came to see Laurel & Hardy in any language, and likewise Charley Chase. So he starred these comedians in foreign-language productions of their own movies, and to increase his profits, would fill out the length with songs, variety acts.... in effect, lengthening them from short subjects to features.
This movie is the Spanish language version of THE PIP FROM PITTSBURG, and it is eked out with a comic song and a couple of gags that look like they were trimmed from the English-language version. Every speaking role has been replaced, save Charley, and here's where it becomes clear that when it comes to star actors of any stripe, switching them around, even with capable performers, doesn't always work. In the English-language version, the feminine lead is taken by Thelma Todd, and her chemistry with Charley Chase and comic reactions are amazing. Here, Mona Rico takes the role, and while she is fine in the role and this is a wonderful short comedy, it lacks that chemistry. However, if your first language is Spanish, you might just wind up liking this better. Drop me a line as to how Charley's Spanish is; he didn't sling the lingo, but read it phonetically off cue cards.