10 October 2010 | boblipton
Sparing No Expense
An examination of the remnants of this disastrously overcut Fox short comedy is that its continuity must have been fairly telegraphic to begin with, and the battering it received as its wound its way through the cinema circuits until it ended up in the Czech Film Archives -- well, it can't have helped. There's a lot of story that is now only hinted at, and a lot of money went into producing it: airplanes, miniature, stuntmen, four major sets, and a top comedy director and lots of fine comics. The three biggest names here -- Polly Moran, Slim Summerville and George Cooper -- came from Sennett and they left Sennett for more money.
But, as near as can be told, it looks like money that was a well spent. The large cast is well directed. The destruction wrought on the miniatures is highly convincing. It looks to have been a very good comedy in the now surreal-seeming Mack Sennett mold, full of teachers spanking their pupils and then being spanked in turn, runaway lovers and a society party where the swells wind up looking ridiculous.
This seems to have been fairly typical of Fox short comedy production through the end of the 1920s, when George Marshall was supervising the output. Fox turned out a lot of them, somewhere north of 150 over the years, but maybe two dozen are known to survive in any form. Beat up as this is, it indicates that the quality of what is gone is very good.