Series: Max Davidson

Director: Arch Heath
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles: H.M. Walker
Photography: George Stevens
Editor: Richard Currier

Stars: Max Davidson, Gene Morgan, Polly Moran, Viola Richard, Charles Dorety
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 03 March 1928
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: D-8
Filming dates: December 18, 1927 - January 3, 1928
Rating: 6/10

Came The Dawn

Available on DVD:

The Gimplewart's are in their car driving to their new home in a quiet suburb. When they arrive Papa (Max Davidson) tells his wife (Polly Moran) that he puchased the house for only $1500 but she is immediately suspicious given the cheap amount. The head mover (Gene Morgan) is infatuated with Papa's daughter (Viola Richard) and invites her to the... now let me get this right... the Elite Steam Fitters' Masquerade event later that night. She tells him that Papa won't approve but she'll slip out of the house at 9pm. Outside a group of nosey neighbors have gathered to discuss the bad history of the house that the Gimplewart's have just moved into. The furniture movers also point out the exact spot in the living room that the body of the assassinated saxophone player was found.
That night Papa is jittery. What with their son sneaking around on all fours, the daughter sneaking off out and a strong wind which causes havoc with blowing white dust sheets around. You get the picture. The head mover arrives at 9pm as planned - with a religious parrot as a gift. No comment. She leaves it in the house, and well, you can see where this is going, right? In the dead of night the wind suddenly picks up, the dog starts barking and the windows begin rattling. Mama wakes up screaming from all the disturbance and prods Papa with a conveniently-placed umbrella for him to go an investigate what sounds like a murder coming from downstairs?
Papa takes his shotgun and tiptoes around the house in the dark as the windows continue to rattle in the wind. The son comes out onto the landing and asks for the gun but Papa keeps it for himself. When Papa returns to his bedroom he reports that no murder could be found; "not even a suicide"! When a loud crash is heard Mama tells Papa to go look again. It's at this point that the parrot decides to become rather vocal. Papa fetches his son from his room and together they go downstairs to find out where the noise is coming from. Son picks up a large sword which just happens to have been left on the landing, whilst Papa slips on a roller and tumbles to the ground in a heap.
After being frightened a bit more by the situation Papa and his son return to their rooms. The daughter and her boyfriend return home with him wearing a fancy dress skeleton costume. Upstairs Papa, Mama and the son hear noises and Mama jumps back into bed. As Papa tries to discover where the noises are coming from and gets his head stuck in a door. After the son frees him Papa runs through the house and ends up with a carpet over the son's head when it is disturbed by the daughter. Papa clobbers somebody over the head with a hall tree before realising it is his son. Papa then drags his son to a room and stuffs him in a closet. The boyfriend then tries to hide in the same closet as the son crawls out. Papa returns to the closet and grabs who he believes to be his son and takes him back to bed where he says they will be safe. The parrot escapes from its cage and crawls into a telephone cover and falls on the cat. It all comes to a head when the daughter finally reveals to Papa that it's only her and her boyfriend in costumes who are causing all the trouble. Papa then faints after he sees the cat carrying the parrot.

Favourite bit
Quite difficult to choose a favourite scene here. I did like the expression Max Davidson gives when the son crawls into the bedroom on all fours and Max looks at him with the shotgun and contemplates just shooting him right there!

Copyrighted March 3, 1928.
An incomplete copy of the film was released on DVD in 2011 which shows some serious deterioration on the print in places towards the end of the film.
The removal company is Arlington.
Papa claims that he bought the house for $1500.
Mama and Papa (and son) are all in bed by 9pm, for some strange reason.
This scene must have been filmed in reverse. Papa jumps backwards and lands with the sword between his legs. That would have been too dangerous to do for real. Having watched the scene a few times closely I could see that Papa's leap is unnatural and therefore he surely would have jumped forward and the shot was later reversed.
At least one source claims that the little moving man is Charlie Hall but it is in fact Chuck Callahan.
My opinion
Actually this one wasn't too bad. A half-decent storyline, a few obvious conveniences and an all-too brief showing from Viola Richard as the daughter but generally I found it to be pretty good.

Max Davidson
Papa Gimplewart
Polly Moran
Mama Gimplewart
Viola Richard
Gimplewart's daughter
Charles Dorety
Gimplewart's son
Gene Morgan
Head remover
Edgar Dearing
Big moving man
Chuck Callahan
Small moving man
Alice Belcher


CREDITS (click image to enlarge) INTERTITLES (click image to enlarge)

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Jesse Brisson (identification of Chuck Callahan)

This page was last updated on: 03 June 2021