Stan Laurel series
Production No. L-2
28 October 1923
|Director:||J.A. Howe||♦||Cinematography:||Frank Young|
|Titles/Dialogue:||?||♦||Assistant director:||Clarence Hennecke|
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|In the trembling Russian village of Popoffski, a young woman (Katherine Grant) is wooed by a hopeful lover, the son of a humble pool shark (Stan) right under the very nose of her father. When the man proposes marriage to her the father is happy to let her go, seeing as he has nine other children to worry about. As the couple celebrate their love for one another they are approached by a military officer who threatens to take the woman away to use as a court dancer. She is taken indoors to get ready for the journey, whilst Stan disguises himself in female attire from a nearby washing line to gain access past the armed guard who is stationed outside.|
|They say their farewells as she offers him a photograph of herself as a reminder for him. Stan escapes (falls backwards out of the upstairs window straight down onto the guards) and is taken away to be shot by a firing squad full of soliders with a variety of sight handicaps (including none other than George Rowe).
When the firing squad manages to shoot everybody in the room except the intended target Stan escapes to seek out his sweetheart who has now ended up in the theatre and ready to perform.
Meanwhile an officer is flirting with the mysterious Madame XX (Mae Laurel) in front of the jealous general (Finlayson) and is shot down in comical fashion. The general then takes over with the flirting until the new female dancer (Grant) walks in and announces herself. She is directed to get into her attire (to be found in the filing cabinet, first envelope!)
Madame XX then turns her attention on the young Stan who has wandered into the venue, openly snuggling up to and kissing him (of course this was Stan's real-life common-law wife at the time Mae Laurel). He is reluctant to reciprocate the affection on account of his sweetheart, the woman he has come to meet. Finally Stan manages to break her hold and runs off to discover his woman in the arms of the general. Stan is challenged to a duel and the two fight in the courtyard with swords. This consumes some time whilst a vendor asks the spectators if they wish to buy hot dogs! When the swords duel cannot be resolved it switches to guns with both men taking (poor) aim at one another indoors when the Russian Count (from the opening of the film) appears, gets himself into an altercation with the general and the two fight it out among themselves whilst Stan emerges outside with his sweetheart before being covered in a sudden avalanche of snow.
When Stan and Fin are having their swordfight in the courtyard it goes on so long that the snow has fallen all around them, covering their bodies up to their waists whilst they still continue to battle despite fatigue. The swords are broken right down to stumps and the two men are so tired they are almost exhausted, barely making contact with the others sword. For somebody who was billed as the greatest swordsman in Russia, Finlayson's character doesn't do much to substantiate that claim, to be fair!
• Production L-2 - Stan Laurel series. Originally produced as C-119.
• Copyrighted November 23, 1923.
• July 27 - August 11, 1923.
• This was the eighth time Stan and Mae Laurel appeared in a film together.
• The train on which Count Pifflevitch threatens to send Sonia away on is the 8:27 to Petrograd.
• When Finlayson makes yet another mark on the barrel of his gun there are already six marks visible.
Count Alexis Pifflevitch
Spectator at Duel
(*this has been disputed)
Man with weapons
The General's second
|? UNIDENTIFIED CAST ?|
|CREDITS||POSTERS & LOBBY CARDS|
|Books and publications: Robert Demoss, Rob Stone, Richard Lewis Ward
Thanks to: Jesse Brisson
This page was last updated on: 28 September 2015