Series: James Finlayson

Director: Fred L. Guiol
Producer: Hal Roach
Titles:
Photography:
Editor:

Stars: Martha Sleeper, James Finlayson, William Gillespie
Company: Pathé Exchange
Released: 24 May 1925
Length: 1 reel
Production No.: D-85
Filming dates: February 12-19, 1925
Rating: 2/10


Sure-Mike!

Available on DVD:
   

This Martha Sleeper-starring Roach one-reeler (actually the second film in the James Finlayson series) opens with a title card: The department store girls were "catty"--They could "meow" in anything from a low whisper to High-C--. The girls (one of whom is Fay Wray) remark that co-worker Vermuda is late again. More worried is The Floorwalker (Jimmy Finlayson) -- Nothing wrong with him that some good undertaker couldn't fix -- as the black-haired fellow remarks that she is a few hours late ("Maybe she lost the address!") and threatens to fire anyone else that comes in late before bumping into a lady shopper (Lyle Tayo).
Next is another introductory title card: Vermuda--She was due at the store early Monday morning -- This is Tuesday--. Cut to Vermuda (Martha Sleeper), clumsily and uncontrollably roller-skating her way to her job. On her way, she bumps into many pedestrians before going headfirst into a cart attached to a motorcycle. The cart belongs to the titular Mike-- Wasting away because of his love for Vermuda -- Only a skeleton of his former self. Exit Mike (Martin Wolfkeil), a big guy snacking as he mounts his scooter. When Vermuda pops out of the cart, Mike agrees to get her to the store as quick as possible. Vermuda seats herself on top of the now-closed cart, so thus, when Mike stops, she is thrown into the store. She slides across the floor and she grabs onto a table leg, briefly sending her body in a circle; nonetheless, she turns up her nose and dignifyingly tells Mike, "Thank you."
The New Manager-- One of those high-powered, two-fisted indoor giants that put perfume on their eyebrows--, introduces another title card. The new manager (William Gillespie) exits a room with the floorwalker, as Vermuda mounts a basket on a rope like a high wire and slides her way to behind the sales desk. She grabs a mannequin and dresses it up, and acts as if she's chatting with a customer, fooling the manager. However, the Floorwalker, briefly tittering with his mustache, notes that the mannequin has no legs, and Vermuda's ruse is up.
Another female customer (Marjorie Whiteis ?) inquires about an accessory - and the floorwalker briefly looks down at her legs - as the manager pampers himself up. A distracted Vermuda is smitten with him, and is laughed at by the two girls - as she accidentally ties an order for a mother and her child to one of the child's balloons, which flies away. The female customer whom the floorwalker is escorting asks to have hair tonic that makes her hair as glossy as his; he brags "I've used this tonic on my hair for years!" - whereupon the floating package on the balloon slightly peels his toupee off his head. The woman laughs, "You don't want a tonic-- You need mucilage!"
An embarassed floorwalker finally realizes his toupee is peeled and brushes it back down as the woman walks away. The manager walks up to Vermuda and asks her to put on her coat and visit his office. The two girls seriously whisper to each other about what's going on, as Vermuda claims she has been invited by the manager "to go the beach with him in his limousine!" shocking the catty girls. However, upon entering his office, the manager directs her to deliver a bunch of packages and hurry back. An embarassed Vermuda, mocked by the floorwalker ("Where's the limousine? You must have dropped it!") and the girls, musters up pride and exits. She attempts to mount a ridiculously crowded city bus, riding onto the back and hanging onto a man's trousers. The conductor (Al Hallett) loudly asks for fare as a horse driving a carriage behind constantly nips at Vermuda's back.
All she asked was a smile--one grin of true love from the man she adored--, a title card says, as Vermuda pampers herself outside of the apartment. She opens the door and acts coy... to find the manager on his wife's lap, bouncing a baby in front of three other children. A shocked Vermuda faints, landing on a flipping pane-glass window that sends her to bounce off an awning and onto the cart of Mike (who I guess just happened to be there!). Vermuda orders her friend to "Take he home! He ain't no Romeo--He's the Father of His Country!"


Vermuda sits on the cart as Mike complies... only for Mike to get knocked off his cart by the outward planks/pipes (?) on the back of a recently-parked truck.
A dejected Vermuda, who had bent down to pick up her purse that she nearly dropped, sits back up and is oblivious to Mike's sudden absence as the scooter wildly careens through traffic ("If you wasn't such a good driver--It's be nervous--" "Slow down, Mike--I'm gettin' sea-sick!"). She nearly collides with a bus, which thankfully turns left at just the right time, and makes a couple more comments towards the absent Mike ("Don't run into a policeman" -- They're so unreasonable" and "This is our street - We turn here") and comes in contact with an outstretched traffic cop. Eventually, she turns around and realizes Mike is gone. The helpless Vermuda careens though more traffic and pedestrians ("All I ask is a straight steet--An' nobody on it!") before Mike turns up in another car. He attempts to grab Vermuda, with no success, before announcing to her that he'll be at a corner - "Don't miss me when you jump!" Mike gets out of the moving car, and Vermuda leaps off the cart and onto Mike.
The two dazed and relieved friends sit up; one asks the other, "Did I miss you?" and act bashfully as Vermuda hugs Mike and plants one on his cheek, and rests her head on the bashful Mike's shoulder.

Trivia
Copyrighted May 18, 1925.
Premiered May 18, 1925.
The DVD from Alpha Video is completely missing the first 26 seconds of the film, which includes the first three intertitle cards. This is apparent when comparing it to the DVD version from Looser Than Loose and watching both versions side-by-side.
The events in the film take place on a Tuesday.
My opinion
Absolutely and completely unimportant ten minutes' worth of utter rubbish, lacking in entertainment, comedy, plot or sustainability.

Martha Sleeper
Vermuda
James Finlayson
Floorwalker
William Gillespie
New manager
Marjorie Whiteis
Customer
Martin Wolfkeil
Mike
Fay Wray
Salesgirl at department store
Lyle Tayo
Customer
Jules Mendel
Trolley rider
Dick Gilbert
Trolley rider
Al Hallett
Conductor
Jane Sherman
Salesgirl at department store
Billy Seay
Boy

UNIDENTIFIED CAST

INTERTITLES (click image to enlarge)

SHOT ON THE BACK LOT
(click any image to enlarge)

SHOT ON LOCATION
(click any image to enlarge)





MARTHA SLEEPER RISQUE
(click any image to enlarge)

DVD COMPARISONS
The Alpha DVD has a much better picture quality, and is shown in its correct ratio, but has some footage missing, as well as their watermark printed across the opening titles.
The LTL DVD has more footage, including 3 opening intertitle cards and some brief footage in the shop at the very beginning (about 20 seconds in total), but the picture is cropped and has much more contrast.

Acknowledgements:
Jesse Brisson (review; identification of Dick Gilbert and Marjorie Whiteis)
Brad Filippone (information relating to intertitles)
Craig Calman (identification of Jules Mendel and Jane Sherman)

This page was last updated on: 27 June 2022