Series: (Babe Hardy)
Director: Vin Moore, Richard Smith
Stars: Alice Howell, Dick Smith, Babe Hardy
Company: Reelcraft Pictures
Released: April 1920
Length: 2 reels
Filming dates: late 1918
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A color-blind artist (co-director Dick Smith) who has an eye for milkmaids (well, one in particular - Alice Howell) is painting her on a farm. The film cuts and chops up around a donkey nibbling his ear and then chasing him around the field. The milkmaid feeds the donkey some food at the well as the artist chalks a picture of a donkey on the barn and then grabs his pitchfork. Babe Hardy is introduced, arriving at the farm in a less-than-roadworthy vehicle. A guy buys a drink from a vendor selling it from the back of his truck, a revenue officer pulls up in his car and the vendor takes off into the dust, leaving a hobo in the dirt [the film is really chopped up all over the place in this section].
Back at the farm house, the milkmaid gets an attack of conscience when she is about to lift a pie from the oven and sees a sign reading "Thou Shalt Not Steal", though it doesn't last long as she dines with the donkey (yes you read that correctly). The landlady storms in to find a half-eaten pie and then finds the donkey in a bed. The milkmaid tries to escape through an upstairs window but as she descends the ladder which is conveniently stood up outside her window she encounters the artists' pitchfork and has to go back up. She eventually falls off the ladder and is butted by a sheep. The milkmaid is vacuuming the donkey (again, you read that correctly) when a car containing five young ladies in bathing costumes turn up. The milkmaid eagerly undresses and puts on her own costume and joins the ladies as one of them (Sybil Seely) dives into a pool. The film then cuts back to her beating a rug with a broom.
Babe Hardy pulls up in a car and wastes no time in flirting with the maid. He is chased off by the artist, but in the next scene the maid is being chatted up by an agent (who is seen briefly earlier in the film). As Babe summons the assistance of the artist (despite having a tussle moments earlier), the agent flashes his sheriff's badge and pulls a gun on the artist and frogmarches him off down the street. In the absence of the artist, Babe storms the farm building and ties up the milkmaid, setting fire to the barn. The frightened victim calls the donkey for help (yep, the donkey). The donkey rescues her, and she does likewise to a baby that has just suddenly popped up out of nowehere. It turns out the baby belongs to the maid, who has been keeping it hidden away in the barn. When the landlady finds out (or rather when Babe snitches to her about it) the maid and child are ordered to leave by the tyrant landlandy, who throws them out despite a storm that has arrived.
The next morning, the maid latches on to the rear of a dairy truck and feeds her baby the milk from a tank via a hose on the back. Babe picks her and the baby up in his car and they are later seen trying to make some money on the street as the milkmaid dances. A wealthy young man pulls up in a limo and hands her a note asking her to meet him later at his address. She shows up and is introduced to the other guests (look out for an over-dressed Fay Holderness as the hostess). She sees a table full of food and quickly helps herslef to it when nobody is looking. The film ends with her smashing a vase over the head of an elderly man who gets a little too fresh with her!
Well anything is better than looking at Alice Howell in a close-up shot!
• Filmed late 1918 at L-KO Studios, Hollywood.
• Dick Smith and Alice Howell were real-life husband and wife.
• The cat's name is Cyclone.
• The sign in the kitchen above the door reads "Thou Shalt Not Steal". The second sign reads, "God Helps Those Who Helps Themselves".
• Alice Howell's hair looks like the Bride of Frankenstein. She also acts like a complete slut during the film, allowing every man to molest her.
• When the milkmaid is tied up in the barn you can see her exhaling cold air from her breath.
• If you look very carefully, when the milkmaid brings the baby out of the barn and meets Babe with the landlady she is actually holding a dummy. One quick frame cut later and you can see the dummy becomes the real baby. Again, later in the film when she is walking down the road with her back to the camera (just before Babe picks her up in the car), she is holding a dummy baby.
• When they get back inside the house, the landlady actually physically pushes the milkmaid despite the fact she is holding a baby in her arms. That could have been quite dangerous. Also, note how the milkmaid is holding the baby prior to this on the porch. It's right leg is sticking up in the air.
• In the scene where the maid hurries along the road behind the dairy wagon with her child, you can see she is simply running on the spot and a scrolling (and rounded) scenery can be seen in the background. You can see the obvious crease in the painting near the top.
• The name of the milk wagon used by the maid is "The Happy Cow Dairy".
What the experts say
• "Oliver Hardy in his typical villain style." ~ Lord Heath.
Mr. Peeble Ford
|Ida Mae McKenzie
Laurel OR Hardy by Rob Stone (book)
Rob Stone (print)
https://silentlocations.com/2019/04/28/alice-howell-early-hollywood-views/ (John Bengston)
This page was last updated on: 10 May 2019