The Shrimp
Series: All Stars w/Harry Langdon
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 03 May 1930
Type: sound short
Length: 2-reels
Production: S-30
Filming dates: December 12-26, 1929
Director: Charley Rogers
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Titles: H.M. Walker
Sound: Elmer Raguse
Harry: Harry Langdon
Jim's girlfriend: Thelma Todd
Nancy: Nancy Drexel
Jim, the bully: Jim Mason
Fat lodger: Frank Alexander
Professor Schoenheimer: Max Davidson
Orderly: Charles McAvoy
Landlady: Kathrin Clare Ward

In a busy boarding house, the guests congregate downstairs for breakfast... all except for Harry, who arrives a little later. Before he goes downstairs the maid (Nancy Drexel) advises Harry not to be intimidated by the other guests, especially Jim, a bully. Harry, now full of confidence proceeds downstairs where he is tripped up by Jim as all the other guests laugh at him. Jim's girlfriend (Thelma Todd) adds insult to injury by kicking Harry just for good measure. The ribbing continues as they all take their place at the breakfast table. After the landlord says grace, coffee is poured for the guests, with Harry sandwiched between Jim and Thelma at the table. All attempts to eat are thwarted by Jim and Thelma who tease him, and then shove his face into a bowl of raspberries to the laughter of the others.
Professor Schoenheimer (Max Davidson) makes front page headlines for developing a formula which turns timid men into raging bulldogs. He performs the miracle in front of some students who are gathered to witness the wonder. His subject is none other than Harry, the timid boarder. The doctors shove a thermometer in his mouth and apply an anaesthetic (a mallet to the head) before lying Harry down on a trolley and pulling down a screen. When he comes round, the professor asks if Harry could lick (fight) the burly surgeon standing next to him. Harry confidently smacks the surgeon on the chin before professing the ability to lick everybody else in the room - and Jim, the bully at the boarding house... and with that Harry heads off home quickly to do the deed, followed closely by all the doctors.
Harry returns home and is immediately accosted and assaulted by Thelma, but this time he retaliates. When she reacts to his unexpected assertiveness Harry pushes her back into a chair - repeatedly. Nancy the maid tells him off for being so aggressive towards the annoying Thelma. Harry goes into the house where the downtrodden landlady is scrubbing the floors. Harry demands that she stop immediately and that she should not be treated in such a belittling manner by her lazy, controlling husband. When the husband objects to Harry's language towards his wife Harry throws a picture frame at him, shortly followed by a flying vase thereafter. Harry then attacks another guest (Frank Alexander) for eating too much candy then proceeds to chase the landlord with an umbrella before forcing him down onto all fours and making him scrub the floors.
Jim returns home and Thelma fills him in on what has taken place. Jim threatens to ring Harry's neck and goes into the house to find him eating chicken at the table. When Jim confronts Harry, Harry clonks him over the head. Jim fights back and throws several saucers at Harry, finally hitting him at the third attempt. Harry crawls under the table and bites Jim's leg which leads to them rolling around on the floor in a scrap. The fight continues with Harry gaining the upper hand until Jim gives up and accepts defeat. After hitting Jim, who has a bucket wedged on his head at this point, with a coal shovel, Harry introduces Jim to a large bowl of berry juice on the table which he shoves his head into. At this point the professor and his doctors burst into the house (no doorbell required apparently) and salute their subject. Harry's last act of bravery is to dive head first out of an open window to chase a cat.

Favourite bit
Harry gives the annoying Thelma a taste of her own medicine.

At least one source gives a release date of May 2, 1930.
Copyrighted March 3, 1930.
Also filmed in Spanish as ¡Pobre infeliz!
Hal Roach directed the retakes.
Harry Langdon is in room 4.
Harry Langdon is referred to as a "shrimp" by both the landlady and her husband as well as Thelma.
The overhead camera shot of Harry Langdon and Jim Mason rolling around fighting on the floor was a technique not often seen in these type of films. During this scene watch how Jim Mason covers the face of 'Harry' with his arm. The reason is because that is not Harry Langdon, but Chet Brandenburg doubling for him.
This was the 99th and last film appearance for Helen Gilmore in a Hal Roach film. She can be seen early on in the film as one of the tenants.
What the experts say
"I don't know what it is, but there is just something very dull about Harry Langdon in his brief spell with Hal Roach in 1930. The usually likeable Thelma Todd is a right bitch here too. On the plus side, it is nice to hear Max Davidson speak." ~ Lord Heath.

Harry Langdon
Thelma Todd
Jim's girlfriend
Nancy Drexel
Jim Mason
Jim, the bully
Max Davidson
Professor Schoenheimer
Helen Gilmore
Frank Alexander
Fat lodger
Charles McAvoy
Burly orderly
Kathrin Clare Ward
Chet Brandenburg
Harry's stunt double


Nothing On A Stage Is Permanent by Harry Langdon Jr. (book)
Brian Anthony (help)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Chet Brandenburg)

This page was last updated on: 09 July 2018