|When Knights Were Cold|
|12 February 1923|
|Quality Productions/Metro Pictures|
|Frank Fouce||Gilbert M. Anderson||Thomas N. Miranda||Irving G. Ries||?|
|In a scene I can only describe as reminiscent of Monty Python, Stan appears from behind a wall on a made-up paper mache horse. He flees a pursuing crowd of about 50 others, all dressed identically to him, pretending to ride horses as they run around the small cobbled town. They 'ride' through a castle, where Stan manages to evade the crowd by ducking down next to a wall (it really is the daftest thing you've ever seen!) Stan takes his 'horse' to a water troth, where it preceedes to drink its content dry! A young boy delivers Stan a newspaper which proclaims Prince Pluto will marry Princess Elizabeth at noon that day unless Lord Helpus (Stan) saves her. The crowd of knights on 'horseback' take up their chase as Stan heads off across the land hoping to stop the wedding.
Far away across the land, the princess is locked in a danky castle dungeon and is pressured by a menacing guard to marry the prince, even though it is clearly against her will. She is dragged away by the guard just as Stan arrives to rescue her. Stan tries, but fails to climb a vine at the base of the castle wall, so he grabs a watering can and waters the plant to make it grow!
The princess climbs up to a window and threatens to jump is the guard so much as touches her. When he lunges for her, she jumps out of the way and Stan appears at the window opening. Stan jumps into the castle room and struggles with the guard before kicking him to the floor in quite an uncharacteristic fashion.
|The knights have rushed into the castle to stop Stan from stealing the princess. Stan hides behind some drapes and has to endure further attack from the mean guard. When the guard sees Stan's shoes under the curtains he aims his sword and attempts to stab him. The shoes fall to the floor and the guard pulls back the curtains to find Stan upright, on bended legs. Stan smashes the guard over the head with a spiked (rubber) club.
The princess flees with Stan, but their exit is blocked by a door with the angry knights on the other side. They poke their swords through cracks in the door to try and apprehend Stan, but once again Stan gets the upper hand and returns the gesture by poking his own sword through the door and taking out a few of the men on the other side. But still they come.... and another knight appears at the window ready to duel with Stan. They engage in a sword fight which ends with Stan booting him out of the window before turning his attentions to the many others who have entered the room. Stan takes them all on, waving his sword in the air, whilst cuddling the princess and showing off. By dawn there is a heap of bodies mounted in a huge pile, courtesy of Stan's brave and nonchalant fighting.
A lone survivor sneaks up from behind and attempts to grab Stan, but a series of quick edits in the film make him vanish and re-appear behind the attacker. Stan kicks the knight to the floor and reunites with the girl; but still they come... more men pursuing the couple, armed and angry. Once again Stan confronts the men and casually engages in sword battle with them, waved on by the princess, who is oblivious to yet another knight who has snuck up behind her. He warns if Stan doesn't surrender, he will kiss the princess "smack on the lips"! Stan has no option but give up. He is brought before the king, who orders he be tied up and shot.
The knights take aim with their bows and arrows and simultaneously fire at Stan, who is tied to a stake. The wayward arrows completely miss him and dislodge a large vase hanging above a guard's head. The obvious happens and the guard is knocked out by the falling vase. Then a man wearing a bucket on his head enters the room (I kid you not). He is the king and upon seeing him (sans bucket), the princess rushes into his outstretched arms as the army of knights stand down. The evil prince, who has been manipulating the knights is arrested and taken away under protest. The joyful princess kisses Stan, who is still ties up with his hands behind his back; though after a few attempts he finally falls backwards.
The wedding day arrives and the couple walk down the aisle, dancing to the wedding band who are playing up on the podium. Everybody in the hall gets carried away with the music, including the Countess Out (Mae Laurel in a brief cameo). The king calls a halt to the comedy as the couple take their vows. The final joke comes when Stan pulls down "The End" sign to cover his wife's exposed legs.
This is without doubt one of the very best (and funniest) of all the Stan Laurel solo films. Very watchable, enjoyable and original! Recommended.
•Filmed circa December 1922.
•Copyrighted May 10, 1923 (LP18939) by Quality Producing Company.
•Working title: "Rob 'Em Good, When Knighthood Was In Flour".
•The director of the film, Frank Fouce, was one of the guests who appeared in Laurel & Hardy's This Is Your Life show in 1954.
•This was Harry De More's last film appearance.
•At the time of this review (April 2014), this is one of only a very small Handful of Stan Laurel's solo films which is unavailable on DVD.
Did you notice?
•The newspaper that the boy brings Stan is called "Ye Harde Times" - published in Tassamania, Friday May 13, 1313. Incidentally, just for a point of accuracy May 13th 1313 fell on a SATURDAY.
•When Stan waters the plant to make it grow so that he can climb the castle wall, he doesn't move but rather the backdrop (obviously a painting) scrolls down the screen to give the impression that he is rising.
•At the start of the wedding procession, you can just make out somebody doing somersaults down the aisle in front of the walking parties.
•Mae Laurel has a very small part in the film and doesn't appear until nearly 16 minutes into it. She appears in two clips, totalling 57 frames of film (that is approximately 2¼ seconds).
|Harry De More
Prince of Pluto
Sir Chief Raspberry
Earl of Tabasco
Duke of Sirloin
Boy with newspaper
Laurel OR Hardy by Rob Stone (book)
This page was last updated on: 19 April 2014