Series: All Stars w/ Harry Langdon

Director: Charley Rogers
Producer: Hal Roach
Story editor: H.M. Walker
Photography: George Stevens
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: Elmer Raguse

Stars: Harry Langdon, May Wallace, Tom Ricketts, Nancy Dover
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 30 November 1929
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: S-26
Filming dates: September 11-26, 1929
Rating: 6/10



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Some old fart named Edgar is sitting with Maggie, a middle-aged woman, on a sofa and tells her he has something to say to her. Eagerly awaiting him to propose marriage to her, instead he tells her he has to leave to catch his train. She rings for the butler - Harry Langdon, who makes his entrance in typical Harry Langdon fashion and stumbles across his words as he is instructed to fetch the guest's hat and cane for him. When Edgar leaves the woman sits her maid and butler down and explains to them that in the morning her heavily-mortgaged house will be repossessed. After informing her staff they should start seeking alternative employment Maggie heads to the bank to try and save her home. After she leaves Edgar returns carrying a bunch of flowers. Before they let him into the house, Harry and the maid panic, not knowing what to do. So Harry tries lying down to think but accidentally lays on the cat.
The maid, who has a name by the way - Nancy - forcibly makes Harry dress up as a woman. All the time Edgar is still waiting outside the house when the postman calls. Eventually Nancy lets him in (Edgar, not the postman). When inside she deliberately knocks his glasses off so that Edgar's vision becomes impaired in order for Harry to pose as Maggie. Edgar approaches Harry, thinking he is Maggie and starts telling her that he loves her. Harry tries to avoid his advances until Edgar steps on his braces, which snap back and hit Harry - sending him crashing down over the sofa (a priceless scene!) In a rather bemusing scene that follows, an old flame of Maggie's suddenly shows up and tells the postman that he is here to reunite with her and marry his old sweetheart. When Harry comes out of the house dressed as Maggie, the old flame thinks it is her and starts getting reacquainted!
Edgar is having none of it and challenges the old flame to a fight, which his opponent is happy to oblige him with! The old flame, dressed not unlike a cowboy, draws his two pistols and chases Harry and Edgar around a glass greenhouse in the garden. The cowboy throws one of his pistols to the ground and encourages the old man to duel with him but this causes all sorts of chaos, with him firing off prematurely (at his age?) and Harry diving into a bush where he gets caught up in the branches and loses his 'breasts' which then smack him in the face. This scene goes on a while.... Meanwhile, the old man tries to scramble along the floor with Harry leading the way and inadvertently slicing down plants with a scythe he has picked up. After a snake scares him, Harry jumps up and runs across the garden, tripping through a hammock and falling over in exaggerated comical fashion.
He knocks into a tree and apples begin falling into his hand. He takes one bite, discards the apple and then another falls and lands in his hand (repeat, repeat, repeat). The old flame thanks 'Maggie' and offers her his hat stuffed with money, but the old man isn't finished yet and continues to fire his gun. As he does so several more apples fall from the tree, bombarding Harry and the old flame who take cover. Harry paints a target on the suitor's jacket in the shape of an 'X' and signals Edgar to fire. But when the suitor hugs Harry the 'X' rubs off (very cleanly it must be observed) onto Harry's dress, making him the new target. A little later Maggie returns home and all hell is breaking loose in the garden with a beehive being thrown into the greenhouse and bees everywhere. The old flame thinks the real Maggie is Harry and so he kicks her hard. Maggie grabs a spade and smashes him over the head so hard that the entire greenhouse collapses. Harry survives as the film ends with him sticking his head out from among the rubble.

Favourite bit
A hilarious scene when Harry, dressed as Maggie, falls behind the couch after his braces snap back at whack him. As he falls, a vase also crashes to the ground. No matter what I think of Langdon's films, this scene is absolutely brilliant!

Trivia
Copyrighted December 9, 1929.
This was the third of eight films that Harry Langdon made for Hal Roach. Each of them were released under Roach's 'All Star' banner.
The film made its DVD debut in 2020 thanks to Kit Parker.
After appearing in the first two films both Thelma Todd and Eddie Dunn were absent for this one.
Tom Ricketts was some 24 years older than his love interest May Wallace in the film.
There is a moment during the film where the maid says to Harry "You're terrible!" No comment.
Early in the film Maggie refers to the butler and maid as her "children". This left me wondering if this was meant to be the case but later in the kitchen the maid refers to her as Maggie - not nother, so the term "children" was used as an affectionate term and not a literal one.
When the old man and the old flame start arguing over who is going to 'have' Maggie, Edgar says "over my dead body!" Judging by the looks of him and how he throws a punch I am guessing that won't be too long to wait. Actually he was 76 years old at the time of filming and still had another ten years to live in real life!
Harry used a pair of boxing gloves shoved down his dress to double for breasts. Actually quite clever!
The scene where Harry has a fight with the boxing gloves tied in the bush lasts an extraordinary 1 minute and 34 seconds, in which time he gets hit in the face 20 times.
The 'X' Harry paints onto the old flame's jacket is inconsistent between shots. In the first shot it is drawn as two weak lines crossing themselves but in the next shot the 'X' is very full and deliberate.
What the experts say
"I have made it no secret that I really do not like these films that Langdon did for Hal Roach. That said, I do have to give credit where it is due by saying this one actually made me laugh. Langdon's rather unbelievable attempts to disguise himself as a woman are just ridiculous but there appears to be a good sense of humour on display throughout the film. Certainly watchable." ~ Lord Heath.

Harry Langdon
Dobbs, the butler
May Wallace
Maggie Herring
Tom Ricketts
Edgar
Nancy Dover
Nancy, the maid
Charlie Hall
Postman
Arthur Thalasso
Suitor
Neal Ables
Chauffeur

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This page was last updated on: 02 May 2020