Series: Charley Chase

Director: James Parrott
Producer: Hal Roach
Dialogue: H.M. Walker
Photography: Walter Lundin
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: Elmer Raguse

Stars: Charley Chase, Gay Seabrook, Elizabeth Forrester
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 07 November 1931
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: C-3
Filming dates: August 3-10, 1931
Rating: 5/10

What A Bozo!

Available on DVD:

Charley is a bandleader in a nightclub conducting his band whilst an assortment of girls tap-dance on the floor next to him (and one has to go one better by sticking her leg up over her head for no apparent reason). Charley tells the girls off for distracting him before breaking into song with "Smile When The Raindrops Fall". The nightclub manager turns up and is told that the wealthy society woman Mrs. Van Forrester has lost a girdle of jewels that she wore around her waist and that he is looking for it. Before long the entire staff are searching for it too, with absolutely no regards whatsoever for Charley or his band. That evening the guests begin to arrive, including Van Forrester who brings along her fur coat which she leaves at the check-in girls. Gay, one of the dancers, tries it on but Charley catches her and tells her off. By way of an apology, Gay offers to help Charley "get in" with Van Forrester, something she knows he wants.
Guests start leaving which prompts the manager to send his waiters outside to open the sprinklers to give the effect that it is raining outside so that nobody else will want to leave. Charley makes a nuisance of himself by joining the Van Forrester lady at her table by offering her a light for her cigarette and a replacement girdle for the one she apparently lost. After a brief misunderstanding, she tells him she likes his band and invites him to a pageant she is hosting the next day. Charley is naturally excited at the prospect and offers to escort her home in the pouring rain.
Charley arrives at Van Forrester's large estate but no sooner does he begin talking with her the skies open up and the rain comes down on the 100 or so guests out on the lawn. Everybody rushes indoors where Charley finds Gay, who suggests that Charley perform a brand new song to impress the host, "Singin' In The Rain". Just then, Van Forrester asks Charley where his band is, as she is depending on them to perform at the function. Charley tells her he didn't know they were supposed to be there with him and she leaves unhappy. So Charley improvises with a new band, whose instruments include glasses of wine, a bird whistle, flour drums and Charley playing with a balloon.
A woman ballet dancer (at least I think it's a woman!) takes to the stage and emerges from a large egg to perform her dance to the sound of Charley's "music". She has to pause every time Charley's balloon deflates and the act comes to an abrupt conclusion when Gay pops the balloon. The next act, "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" takes to the floor, with the butler in the back end of a horse removing himself briefly when Gay rings a bell to confuse him. Then comes "The Old South", a song performed by four black kids and accompanied by Charley hitting glass bottles for a tune (this is an awful low point of the entire film). "The Liberty Boys of '76" is the last number, with eight women in uniform dancing to Charley's whistling tune which is ended when they bend forward and Gay rips the drapes to impy they have ripped their clothes. Charley is blamed for the incident and is ordered to leave. Charley gets into his car and Gay jumps on the back and sprays a hosepipe into the air so that it 'rains' down on Charley. But when the hose stretches to its limit she falls off the car and pretends to faint. Charley goes to revive her and for some strange reason he forgives her and they kiss as the rain returns. What a borefest!

Favourite bit
Oh come on admit it, you couldn't take your eyes off her dress in this scene either!

Copyrighted October 23, 1931.
Features the song, "Cute Little Pal".
Also released with Spanish subtitles as "El director de orquesta".
The song Charley performs with the band is "Smile When The Raindrops Fall", which went on to be the signature tune for many of the Chase films. The title of the song was also the inspiration for the name of the first decent book to be written on Charley Chase by Brian Anthony and Andy Edmonds. A book which all Chase fans should own in my opinion.
Gay Seabrook's chest. Is there really a point to her even wearing a bra? Talking of chests, Elizabeth Forrester has got plenty on show here!
The nightclub is called "The Blue Heaven".
Gay Seabrook's character is easily one of the most annoying I have seen in any Hal Roach comedy. I mean, being invited to somebody's home and then just deciding to rip up their drapes to cause a comical effect - the epitome of rudeness!
My opinion
What starts as a promising comedy ends up falling flat on its unfunny face in the awfully boring second reel. Gay Seabrook is hard to like and Charley tries his best to carry the film in his usual manner but he's up against it with a script that runs out of steam far too quickly.

Charley Chase
Gay Seabrook
Gay, the bozo
Elizabeth Forrester
Elizabeth Van Forrester
Symona Boniface
Woman in restaurant
Harry Bowen
Guitar player
William J. O'Brien
Bill Elliott
Carl M. Leviness
Estelle Etterre
Woman who leaves early
Charlie Hall
Baldwin Cooke
Sydney Jarvis
Night club doorman
Jerry Mandy
Night club manager
Ellinor Vanderveer
Chorus girl
Kay Deslys
Chorus girl
Gertrude Sutton
Chorus girl
Lyle Tayo
Chorus girl
Jack Baxley
Nightclub janitor


CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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Acknowledgements & sources:
Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Gertrude Sutton and Lyle Tayo)

This page was last updated on: 22 December 2022