|The Caretaker's Daughter|
|Director: Leo McCarey ♦ Producer: Hal Roach ♦ Titles: H.M. Walker ♦
Cinematography: Glen R. Carrier ♦ Editor: Richard C. Currier ♦
Supervising director: F. Richard Jones
Released: 11 October 1925
Pathé Exchange / 2-reels (silent short)
|The film opens with Charley struggling to drive his car from his shed up a small hill to his house, where his wife (Katherine Grant) is waiting for him, but the dying engine forces him to drive backwards down the hill again. This goes on and on for two minutes before Charley takes charge of the situation. He blows into the exhaust pipe and ends up with an oil ring around his mouth. His wife laughs hysterically at him, but he doesn't get the joke until she herself tries the same trick. In their shared laughter, the car disappears back down the hill and wrecks the shed at the bottom. They argue and she storms off.
Charley takes the wreck of a car to be sold. A potential buyer is taken around the lot by the salesman. Charley stands aside and repeatedly shakes his head to indicate any choice of purchase by the buyer would be a bad one - until he comes to Charley's car, of course. Thinking he has struck gold, Charley is delighted when his wreck is the one chosen (with a little assistance) by the customer. Charley isn't so happy however, when he receives only 20% of the final sale. Things go from bad to worse as the happy new owner (a menacing looking ex-con called 'The Gunman') drives only a few feet before the car collapses onto the sidewalk. Charley runs!
|The Gunman searches for Charley along the street and bumps into an old friend (who turns out to be Charley's boss), little realising this 'old friend' has been secretly banging his missus. Charley follows shortly behind, and the is accosted by his boss. He asks Charley to drive down the road and pick up his woman for him to save being seen by the woman's husband. The husband, the Gunman, orders a taxi to follow them.
Charley stops the posh car with his beautiful passenger right opposite his own home, where he is seen by his wife. At the cabin rendezvous, Charley expects his boss to show up, but instead is met by his angry wife who demands to know who the mystery woman is. Charley offers that she is "The caretaker's daughter". The caretaker (James Parrott) and the woman play along, taking away any suspicion from Charley. Charley's boss then shows up, followed shortly by the Gunman. Thinking quickly, Charley disguises himself to look like the caretaker (his real-life brother) and serves the food to the guests. His false mustache falls into his wife's soup and a 'rescue mission' is formed whilst his boss distracts her so that Charley can retrieve it.
To make matters worse, the Gunman's wife decides to disguise herself in the same appearance as Charley and the caretaker as she tries to make her exit. Enter the sleuth (James Finlayson) who is ALSO dressed exactly the same as the other three! The Gunman knows that one of them is his wife and declares his intention to find out which one is. The caretaker and all three imposters hide and formulate their plan to leave but are chased around the cabin by the others. Eventually, Charley gets the upper hand, removes his disguise and manages to leave. But he has one last surprise waiting for him.
•Filmed July 6-14, 1925.
Did you notice?
•When Charley - and then Katherine Grant - blows into the exhaust pipe, don't you think it a little too neat that the oil mark around their mouths afterwards is just so in proportion?! They both look like clowns.
•The car destroys the shed at the bottom of the hill a little too easily, don't you think?
•After Katherine and Charley exchange a less-than-pleasant conversation next to the wrecked car, he actually contemplates throwing a brick at her when her back is turned. Seriously?
•The car salesman takes 80% commission!
•The name of the hotel where the Gunman's wife is staying is the Hotel Hunt.
•Charley drives the car with the female passenger and stops dead opposite his own house, where his wife sees them. Surely that is a suicidal gesture for a man to do something that stupid! Did he not realise he was driving in his own neighborhood?
•That is some taxi service Katherine Grant hires! She is the third to hire a cab yet the first to arrive at the same destination that the other two men show up, having already jumped into their taxis.
•The performances of both Charley Chase and James Parrott are so convincing that it is hard to keep up with who is who. They both look so much alike with their costumes and false mustaches.
Young married man
Prospective car buyer
|William J. Kelly
The Gunman's wife
http://www.silentcomedians.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=900 (poster and lobby cards)
Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)