|Series:||Plump & Runt||♦||Distribution:||Vim Film Company||♦||Director:||Willard Louis||♦||Cinematography:||?|
|Production:||?||♦||Type:||Silent short||♦||Producer:||Louis Burstein||♦||Editor:||?|
|Released:||15 June 1916||♦||Length:||1-reel||♦||♦|
|BEST DVD VERSION AVAILABLE|
|Plump (Babe Hardy) is an artist who is having some sort of dizzy spell (it is later revealed that in fact he is starving from having not eaten on account of business being so bad). He faints in his studio and as his assistant Runt (Billy Ruge) bends over to see, a model (Rae Godfrey) falls on Runt from above, spilling all three of them onto the floor. In the kitchen the smell of food wafts through the apartment, rousing them all. Runt becomes rigid on his hands and knees and looking in the direction of the kitchen with eagerness, whilst Ollie begins to lick his lips with the smell of the food.
The telephone rings and Runt answers. A widow dressed in black speaks to Plump, who seems to respond rather merrily to the conversation, bringing the enthusiasm back to his face. Shortly afterwards a well-dressed gentleman client is on his way over which brings everybody to life again. The client is Bert Tracy, an art connoisseur, who makes the model feel uneasy when his stiff and abrupt manner causes her to cling to Plump. Plump doesn't seem too impressed with the stranger - until the man offers him $5,000 for a painting of the model.
Plump is not keen on anyone even looking at his model, whom he is obviously in love with and very protective over, and so throws a blanket over her head so the stranger cannot see her.
|There is a brief cutaway shot to the widow who is outside in the garden before we are back in the studio. Plump brings out a previously-painted portrait of his model for inspection but the client indicates that it isn't quite what he wants. He prefers to have a full length pose, with her whole body and not just her face and mid-section. No problem, Plump then reveals a second painting he had done which shows the model's bottom half. When placed one on top of the other, the two paintings make up one large picture of the model.
The client is so happy with what he sees that he begins to hand over his money willingly to Runt. Plump holds out his hand for his share but when he receives none he starts to pump his heart in moderate protest. He then announces that he will not sell the portrait. The model tries to reason with Plump and both Runt and the would-be buyer look surprised. Plump momentarily accepts defeat but then suddenly grabs a knife and heads towards Runt, who is happy to continue taking the client's cash. It's a false alarm, as Plump's intention is merely to destroy the painting to prevent Runt profiting from its sale. Plump slashes the top half of the portrait and is consoled by the model. Runt tries to reason with Plump, but instead Plump tells him to give the man back his money. Runt makes sure the client leaves in a forceful manner.
|Outside on the sidewalk the client pokes two adverts on the building with his cane before walking off.
Plump proclaims he will now paint the widow, who called on the telephone earlier. He kisses the slashed portrait before discarding it and putting up a new canvas, ready to paint again. He gathers his equipment and, after a brief pause in the street, heads off to the garden where the widow is waiting for him.
When Plump arrives to greet her, the widow begins to flirt with him. She offers her arm for Plump to kiss, but he tries to bite it instead. Together they both look very joyous and relaxed. Meanwhile, back in the studio Runt is busying himself by painting a new portrait of the model, who is looking disinterested. Simultaneously both Plump and Runt are painting their respective subjects in different locations. A close-up shot of the widow shows her to have blotches of paint all over her face from the clumsy brush handling of Plump, not that she seems to mind.
Plump starts to feel uneasy with the widow's signs of affection and hurredly tries to finish his portrait, whilst back at the studio Runt is finishing off his masterpiece with the title "What's the use".
|An opportunistic moment for the widow allows her to finally open her arms and embrace Plump but he struggles to resist her advances. At the studio, Runt and the model are seen looking at a painted bowl of fruit before we cut back to Plump's theatrical attempts to rid himself from his flirtatious admirer.
A distressed Plump arrives back at the studio and is immediately comforted by his model, but he shrugs her off and is instead comforted by Runt. The model seems confused as to why Plump is behaving in such a manner. Plump confides in Runt that he needs to choose between the paying widow and his model. Runt offers to go and check out the widow and he and Plump shake hands.
Runt walks off down the street and finds the widow, who is still waiting for Plump to return. Upon shaking hands with her, Runt notices she is wearing a wedding ring.
In the studio the model tries once more to find out why Plump is miserable. He tells her that he is not ready to answer her 'question' because he is unsure of his feelings. After he turns his back on her, she walks out and he starts crying. Meanwhile, Runt begins to woo the widow, who seems to be interested in his advances. Plump, alone in the studio becomes anxious and sets off to find his widow friend - only to discover she has hurriedly married Runt.
|Plump is outraged and feels double-crossed and to add insult to injury, the newlywed couple make no secret of the fact when they throw a heavy object at Plump as they drive past him in their chauffeur-driven car. Plump is felled into the road.
The model has returned to the studio ready to give some good news to Plump, who arrives a short time afterwards. She hands him a letter which notifies him that he is the sole heir to his uncle's fortune. Plump then agrees to marry his true sweetheart, the model and he takes her as she jumps into his loving arms before they both run out of the room.
After their honeymoon, Runt and the former widow return to the studio to find it is now closed for disinfection with a sign hanging at the front signed by Mr. & Mrs. Plump. They emerge to hand Runt's new wife the letter from the attorney's. It states that she was - but is no longer the heir to the fortune. When Runt hears of this, he doesn't hang around. Plump finally gets his girl.
There are some fleeting moments of mild comedy in amongst all the arm waving and over-acting by the players in the film. The best of a (very) small bunch of those is when both Plump and Runt smell food coming from the kitchen. It brings them back to their senses and the expressions on their hungry faces is the winner.
Rae Godfrey spends some screen time looking rather dishy, but too much of that time is spent in theatrical over-playing her role.
• No copyrighted registered.
• Unknown. Filmed in Jacksonville, Florida.
• This was the 22nd time Hardy had co-starred with Billy Ruge.
• Rae Godfrey had just started her acting career when she made this picture. She would go on to appear regularly with Hardy and Ruge in the Plump and Runt series of films for the rest of 1916.
• The title card reads "kunstartiensten". This translates to "art artists".
• After the model faints on Runt, she clutches her right breast.
• The building in which everybody lives and works has a sign outside which says "Artists For The Royalty".
• The moment Hardy reveals the second (bottom) half of the portrait to the interested client, he puts his hand on his head and almost pulls off a Stanley mannerism.
• As beautiful as she is, all the model (Rae Godfrey) seems to do in this picture is wave her arms around in disbelief and over-act her part in such an animated manner.
• When Plump is painting the portrait of the widow in the garden and Runt is painting the portrait of the model in the studio, both men have their canvas boards facing away from their subjects. It's a rather odd way to paint don't you think?
• There is a small clock on the mantle piece which sits next to the telephone.
• The letter handed to Plump notifying him of his fortune is signed by Skint And Flint Attorneys.
What the experts say
"Laurel OR Hardy" - Rob Stone (pp. 141-142)
This page was last updated on: 29 March 2016