Series: All Stars w/ Harry Langdon

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

Stars: Harry Langdon, Thelma Todd, Nancy Dover, Eddie Dunn
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 11 January 1930
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: S-27
Filming dates: October 3-8, 1929
Rating: 5/10

The Head Guy

Available on DVD:

On a dark, rainy night at Elmira train station, young Nancy rushes into the office to tell station master Kennedy that he is now the father of twins. She also tells the elated Kennedy he ought to go home but he is reluctant on account that there is nobody around to take care of the station in his absence. Cue Harry. The excited Kennedy instructs the not-so-keen Harry on keeping his eyes on the signal light and which buttons to press in the event of approaching trains. It's all a bit too confusing for Harry to take in, but Nancy assures him everything will work out fine.
At another station depot the station master sends a coded message through to Harry's station to advise him of an oncoming train, but Harry simply picks up the receiver and tries to hide it in the safe. Yep, real helpful. The train pulls in and the passengers disembark with Harry promoted to baggage handler for them all. The wet passengers are from a theatre and headed by Eddie Dunn, they are forced to rehearse inside the waiting room whilst Harry embarks on a catch & find mission for some ducks that have broken free from one of the crates whilst making duck noises with his mouth. The theatre troupe start rehearsing under the guidance of their pushy commander Dunn who quickly takes objection at the sound of somebody making the horse-laugh sounds at him. He realises it is Harry and the two get into a shoving match. Harry then meets Thelma, sitting in her own room with a dog whom she asks Harry to take out in the pouring rain for her. The dog does its business before Harry returns it to its owner.
Harry takes the place of Eddie in the line-up of girls who are continuing their dance number and over-acts his way through the entire sequence breaking out in some sort of tap-dance with over-sized shoes and making a prat of himself until Nancy returns to the station. After seeing Harry performing with the girls she retreats into the office and cries. Harry follows her in and tells her "Nancy, you cannot believe a word you saw!" (he thinks he's being funny). The furious Nancy screams that she never wants to ever see Him again and storms off out, leaving Harry alone in the office to cry his eyes out. Whilst eating a sandwich Harry sits and cries, and cries and bloody cries for nearly 4 minutes during which time he only threatens to take his life, which unfortunately for the rest of us means we have to endure the scene.
Nancy, who is suddenlt all happy again, starts putting together some dance moves which are overseen by Eddie. He is impressed with her and tells her to join the other women and show him what she can do. Stripping down to her bloomers Nancy starts performing in front of a shocked Harry, who is shoved aside by Eddie who asks her to join the group, offering to take her away that night. Harry gallantly stands up for Nancy and hits Eddie in the nose for trying to take his girl away from him but Eddie hits back - and harder. Harry composes himself and returns to Eddie preparing to pull his gun but fluffs it completely. He gives it another try until Eddie helps show him how it's done. Just then a train pulls in and all the girls hurry on out into the rain to get on it. Eddie hits Harry one last time when he hears a duck but Harry performs a flying drop kick on Eddie and sends him flying out into the rain. Nancy waves goodbye to Harry as she boards the train and it leaves. But as the train pulls out, Nancy is in fact standing on the other side of the tracks and didn't leave at all. Harry embraces her as the rain stops falling and he declares it will never again rain for them before pulling a chord which releases a deluge of water from an overhead stack upon them.

Favourite bit
As the baggage handler begins to unload from the train he throws a crate down onto a trolley. As Harry is sitting on the opposite end it catapults him forwards and he lands on top of it.

Copyrighted December 26, 1929.
This was the fourth 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.
Hal Roach was joined by October 8 by Fred Guiol.
The opening shot of the film is of a sign at a Elmira railroad station (an elevation of 800 feet) which gives directions to New York 326 miles, and Buffalo 242 miles.
The group of actors who hold up at the station are from the Garbo Theatre. Notice the spelling on the luggage is written as "Theatre" (the English spelling) and not the American spelling of "theater".
Second billed Thelma Todd's first scene is after 9 minutes. Her complete screen time last for just one scene which runs 26 seconds.
The scene where Harry Langdon cries in the office was voted as one of the 14 worst things on my Lord's Misfires list. The scene lasts 3 minutes 40 seconds.
The final scene does offer something nice - as Nancy lifts up her arm to wave goodbye to Harry you can see her nipple through her wet top. [see bottom of page for screenshot]
My opinion
This is one of those type of films which is neither good nor bad. Thelma Todd definitely does not deserve her second billing or even her name in the credits for the less than half-a-minute screen time she has. She offers absolutely nothing to the film, whereas Nancy Dover has a small, but important role. Even Edgar Kennedy has a bigger scene than Thelma Todd and his name isn't even on the credits! I suppose they must have felt that by adding Thelma's name to the on-screen credits would have boosted audiences, knowing just how bland this film was. It's fair to say that Langdon had a style of his own judging by these films he made for Roach but seriously, he must have been the only person in the world who thought that crying scene was even remotely funny or entertaining. It really is one of the most cringey moments in the history of the Hal Roach Studios!

Harry Langdon
Thelma Todd
Passenger with dog
Nancy Dover
Eddie Dunn
Mr. Dunn, the producer
Billy Engle
Edgar Kennedy
Station master Kennedy
Gus Leonard
Bob O'Conor
Chet Brandenburg
Theatre troupe
Baldwin Cooke
Station assistant
Bob Minford
Betty Caldwell
Dancing girl
Iris Nicholson
Dancing girl


CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

(click any image to enlarge)

Jesse Brisson (identification of Bob Minford and Iris Nicholson)
Steve Wright (identification of Betty Caldwell)

This page was last updated on: 03 October 2022