Series: All Stars w/ Harry Langdon

Director: Charley Rogers
Producer: Hal Roach
Story editor: H.M. Walker
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: Elmer Raguse

Stars: Harry Langdon, Thelma Todd, Nancy Drexel, James Mason
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 03 May 1930
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: S-30
Filming dates: December 12-26, 1929
Rating: 6/10

The Shrimp

Available on BLU-RAY & DVD:

In a busy boarding house, the guests congregate downstairs for breakfast... all except for Harry, who arrives a little later. Before he goes downstairs the maid (Nancy Drexel) advises Harry not to be intimidated by the other guests, especially Jim, a bully. Harry, now full of confidence proceeds downstairs where he is tripped up by Jim as all the other guests laugh at him. Jim's girlfriend (Thelma Todd) adds insult to injury by kicking Harry just for good measure. The ribbing continues as they all take their place at the breakfast table. After the landlord says grace, coffee is poured for the guests, with Harry sandwiched between Jim and Thelma at the table. All attempts to eat are thwarted by Jim and Thelma who tease him, and then shove his face into a bowl of raspberries to the laughter of the others.
Professor Schoenheimer (Max Davidson) makes front page headlines for developing a formula which turns timid men into raging bulldogs. He performs the miracle in front of some students who are gathered to witness the wonder. His subject is none other than Harry, the timid boarder. The doctors shove a thermometer in his mouth and apply an anaesthetic (a mallet to the head) before lying Harry down on a trolley and pulling down a screen. When he comes round, the professor asks if Harry could lick (fight) the burly surgeon standing next to him. Harry confidently smacks the surgeon on the chin before professing the ability to lick everybody else in the room - and Jim, the bully at the boarding house... and with that Harry heads off home quickly to do the deed, followed closely by all the doctors.
Harry returns home and is immediately accosted and assaulted by Thelma, but this time he retaliates. When she reacts to his unexpected assertiveness Harry pushes her back into a chair - repeatedly. Nancy the maid tells him off for being so aggressive towards the annoying Thelma. Harry goes into the house where the downtrodden landlady is scrubbing the floors. Harry demands that she stop immediately and that she should not be treated in such a belittling manner by her lazy, controlling husband. When the husband objects to Harry's language towards his wife Harry throws a picture frame at him, shortly followed by a flying vase thereafter. Harry then attacks another guest (Frank Alexander) for eating too much candy then proceeds to chase the landlord with an umbrella before forcing him down onto all fours and making him scrub the floors.
Jim returns home and Thelma fills him in on what has taken place. Jim threatens to ring Harry's neck and goes into the house to find him eating chicken at the table. When Jim confronts Harry, Harry clonks him over the head. Jim fights back and throws several saucers at Harry, finally hitting him at the third attempt. Harry crawls under the table and bites Jim's leg which leads to them rolling around on the floor in a scrap. The fight continues with Harry gaining the upper hand until Jim gives up and accepts defeat. After hitting Jim, who has a bucket wedged on his head at this point, with a coal shovel, Harry introduces Jim to a large bowl of berry juice on the table which he shoves his head into. At this point the professor and his doctors burst into the house (no doorbell required apparently) and salute their subject. Harry's last act of bravery is to dive head first out of an open window to chase a cat.

Favourite bit
Harry gives the annoying Thelma a taste of her own medicine.

At least one source gives a release date of May 2, 1930.
Copyrighted March 3, 1930.
Also filmed in Spanish as ¡Pobre infeliz!
This was the seventh film 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 directed the retakes.
Harry Langdon is in room 4.
After the shot where Jim shoves Harry's face into the bowl of berries the shot quickly fades to black. This seemed a bit of an unnatural transition to the next scene.
Max Davidson has a very rare speaking part, playing a scientist.
Harry Langdon is referred to as a "shrimp" by both the landlady and her husband as well as Thelma.
The overhead camera shot of Harry Langdon and Jim Mason rolling around fighting on the floor was a technique not often seen in these type of films. During this scene watch how Jim Mason covers the face of 'Harry' with his arm. The reason is because that is not Harry Langdon, but Chet Brandenburg doubling for him.
Again, I am not convinced but my educated guess that the guy who plays the landlord is Michael Visaroff.
There is a glaring spelling mistake in one of the main story headlines in this newspaper shot. "Opera Stars Wins Recognition In Final Co[N]test". That is quite shocking journalism.
This was the 101st and last film appearance for Helen Gilmore in a Hal Roach film. She can be seen early on in the film as one of the lodgers.
And what is it with that stupid haircut that Jim has?
My opinion
For once I found myself being sympathetic towards Harry Langdon's character here, after a string of unconvincing performances in his previous six films for Roach. The usually likeable Thelma Todd is a right bitch here too and I was really rooting for Harry in the scene on the porch where he gets physically aggressive towards her! Another bonus is that it is nice to hear Max Davidson speak. Much better editing here than before, and those long scenes where Langdon is in front of the camera pratting about are gone. Probably the strongest film in the otherwise substandard series. It's a shame that the quality of the films seemed to be improving right at the end of the series.

Harry Langdon
Thelma Todd
Jim's girlfriend
Nancy Drexel
Jim Mason
Jim, the bully
Max Davidson
Professor Schoenheimer
Helen Gilmore
Frank Alexander
Fat lodger
Otto Fries
Burly orderly
Kathrin Clare Ward
Wallace Howe
Chet Brandenburg
Harry's stunt double



(click any image to enlarge)

(click any image to enlarge)

Jesse Brisson (identification of Chet Brandenburg)
Richard W. Bann, Steve Massa, Jesse Brisson (identification of Wallace Howe)
Steve Massa (identification of Otto Fries)

This page was last updated on: 07 May 2020