Series: Charley Chase

Director: Charley Chase, Harold Law
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Francis Corby
Editor: William H. Ziegler
Sound: Warren B. Delaplain

Stars: Charley Chase, Zeffie Tilbury, Wilma Cox
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 28 March 1936
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: C-38
Filming dates:
Rating: 8/10

Vamp Till Ready

Available on DVD:

Norma (Wilma Cox) is trying on a home-made dress as opposed to buying a new one all to impress her husband Charley but her mother (Zeffie Tilbury) isn't keen on it. Norma seeks Charley's approval but finds him in the sittig room and playing a piano on its side because he says he wants to buy an accordian and this is practice for him! When Charley laughs at his wife's dress she storms off and vows instead to spend his money to buy a new one. Meanwhile Charley's piano playing skills come to an abrupt end when he tips it over whilst trying to play the high notes.
Charley bumps into an old friend Duke who invites him to a party in his apartment later that evening. When Charley returns home he sees Norma wearing a beautiful dress but he mistakenly thinks it is her twin sister Louise, so Norma plays along. Norma quickly runs into the bedroom via the fire escape and gets into bed pretending to be ill so that Charley will not suspect her. Charley checks up on Norma and then leaves the bedroom so Norma climbs back out of the window and runs back into the apartment assuming the role of Louise. When Charley starts confiding in 'Louise' about how his wife never wants to have any fun, 'Louise' begins seducing him and suggests the two of them go out to dance. The embarrassed Charley accepts the offer and sneaks into his bedroom to get dressed up whilst Norma re-takes her scenic route back to her bed to observe him from under the sheets once again. Charley leaves with 'Louise' as they head off to Duke's party with him getting re-dressed in the elevator on the way down.
Charley arrives at the party with Louise, still not realising that she is in fact Norma, his wife. The guests are invited into the kitchen where a multitude of refrigerators away them, stuffed with food. Charley and 'Louise' find a plate of fried chicken but his announcing of it sees all the guests strip his plate clean within seconds. 'Louise' kisses Charley on the neck when he comments about how he likes the neck on a chicken then continues to flirt outrageously and suggestively with him despite his awkward embarrassment. 'Louise' even goes as far as to suggest that the next time his wife asks for a headache tablet he should substitute it for arsenic instead! The bold and galant Charley rejects his sister-in-law, stands up and promises to go straight home and make an honest confession to Nora.
Charley quickly leaves the party and heads home with 'Louise' shortly behind him. Charley gets back into his apartment and heads off to the bedroom to confess his sins to his wife. Nora makes it as far as the balcony but can't get into the bed in time so the spot is quickly taken up by her mother who improvises when she sees Charley come home. Charley rattles on about being a bad man and asks to be forgiven, to which a nodding mother under the cover signals to him. Charley starts to undress for bed which alarms Nora on the balcony and she re-enters the apartment through the front door to cause a distraction so that she can get into the bed. Mother is assigned to the balcony in the freezing cold and snow. Charley discovers Nora in the bed and the game is up and mother is let back into the room. Just then guess who shows up at the apartment? The real Louise. And she is invited to go and change in the bedroom but Charley isn't told. The last line is absolutely brilliant! No, I'm not going to spoil it here. Go watch the film!! Classic.

Favourite bit
The final scene and that fantastic last line! Brilliant.

Copyrighted February 6, 1936.
You would be right in presuming that Wilma Cox isn't wearing a bra in that dress of hers! I couldn't help but notice that. I mean them.
If Norma can climb out of the window at the end of the corridor and walk along the fire escape and climb into her own bedroom from there how difficult would it be for any potential burglar to do exactly the same?
Maybe this party guest was cold?
There is a scene where Charley's wife has to follow him out of the party as he heads back to the apartment. In order for her to keep up the pretence that she is playing the part of his wife's twin sister and following the routine of him going into the bedroom to check on her the story called for an excuse for her to be able to get home before him so that she could get into the bed before he finds out the truth. This is resolved when Charley momentarily stops in the elevator on his way back up to the apartment and this gives her the necessary time needed to get upstairs first. Did you follow all of that?

My opinion
Really good actually. Enjoyable story which has comedy, suspense and intrigue all rolled into one. Wilma Cox is delightfully gorgeous in that dress of hers where she wobbles around gracefully throughout, and Charley plays the part of the seduced husband with nervousness and charm. I liked this one very much.

Charley Chase
Zeffie Tilbury
Mrs. Sutton
Wilma Cox
Norma, Charley's wife
Brooks Benedict
Duke Benedict
Baldwin Cooke
Front desk clerk
Pauline High
Party guest
Polly Chase
Party guest
Vesey O'Davoren
Mary MacLaren
Dress maker
Jay Eaton
Party guest
Ham Kinsey
Harry Bowen
Party guest (?)


CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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Smile When The Raindrops Fall by Brian Anthony & Andy Edmonds (book)
The Charley Chase Talkies 1929-1940 by James L. Neibaur (book)
Silent Film Archive (still)
Brian Anthony (help)
Brent Seguine (identification of Pauline High and Jay Eaton)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Ham Kinsey)

This page was last updated on: 01 September 2022