Series: Paul Parrott

Director: Jay A. Howe
Producer: Hal Roach

Stars: James Parrott, Jobyna Ralston
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 07 January 1923
Length: 1 reel
Production No.: C-71
Filming dates: October 16-20, 1922
Rating: 4/10

Watch Your Wife

Paul (James Parrott) is a detective who collects a disguise from his boss (Mark Jones) and heads off down a corridor in a hotel armed with a mirror on a pole which he uses to hang over the doors on unsuspecting tenants in a very voyeuristic manner. Two women, on either side of the hall (Jobyna Ralston on the right) come out to investigate when they hear a noise but see nobody. Paul gets clobbered by a janitor's broom when he tries to hide behind the corner wall. He then somehow finds a pot of glue and and uses it to paste his shoes to a couple of pillows. Husband (Eddie Baker) comes home and immediately gets into a fight with his wife (Ralston). Hearing the commotion from outside in the corridor, Paul sets up his camera but manages to blow himself and end up stuck to the ceiling. He conveniently falls into the janitor's laundry basket which the janitor then drags into the woman's apartment just as her husband leaves. When the wife sees Paul she faints. He catches her fall as the husband returns to see his wife in Paul's arms. Paul runs out and drops his mask, which the janitor picks up and wears (for some unknown reason). The husband sees him, thinks it is Paul and smacks him. The wife runs to her neighbor across the hall, with Paul - and the husband in pursuit. The two men end up back in the husband's apartment where Paul continues to use his disguises to fool him.
After the husband pays a visit to Paul's boss, who demonstrates some magic tricks with a sheet, he returns to his apartment and finds Paul there with his wife. It all gets chaotic as the husband tries to shoot his rifle through the wall in an effort to kill the intruder. A policeman shows up to investigate all the commotion and he ends up chasing Paul outside. Paul's fake beard is accidentally set on fire when the cop lights a match. This exposes Paul's face and the cop gives chase. A dog tries to interfere and it ends up getting launched over the roof to the building opposite. Paul ends up back in the husband's apartment through the open window when he falls off the roof and lands in the husband's lap. The two go at it again until finally it is revealed to us all that this was all an act on a stage. Paul's final act is to have a bass drum smashed over his head.

Favourite bit
Come on! Are we really to believe that Eddie Baker could look in the mirror and see James Parrott and not question it?! I chose this scene because it was by far the most utterly ridiculous scene in the film!!

Copyrighted December 14, 1922.
Footage from the film was released in two parts as part of the Laff-A-Bits series produced by Kay Arnold, "Paul The Detective" and "Paul In Disguise".
In the hotel corridor we see the two tenants who live opposite one another both open their front doors. The doors open outward. Since when do front doors open outwardly?
My opinion
Bizarre, unbelievable and yet fast-paced comedy.

James Parrott
The detective
Jobyna Ralston
The wife
Eddie Baker
The husband
Mark Jones
The boss
George Rowe
Neighbor across the hall
Charles Stevenson
Gaylord Lloyd
Jack Hill
Pianist in orchestra
Vera White
Neighbor across the hall

(click any image to enlarge)

Jesse Brisson (identification of Gaylord Lloyd, Jack Hill and *Vera White) (*educated guess)

This page was last updated on: 11 January 2023