Love And Duty
Series: Plump & Runt Distribution: Vim Film Company  Director: Willard Louis Cinematography: ?
Production: ? Type: Silent short Producer: Louis Burstein  Editor: ?
Released: 21 September 1916 Length: 1-reel


Private Plump (Babe Hardy) is drilled by his unsympathetic lieutenant at revellie.  As the colonel of the regiment looks on, he tells his daughter it is his desire for her to marry the lieutenant, but she has her heart set on the chubby-faced private instead.  Distracted, Plump abandons his post when the officer turns his back momentarily to embrace his lady who is nearby with a group of soldiers.
Jealous of seeing Plump flirting with another woman, the colonel's daughter takes charge of the situation, much to the delight of the love-struck lieutenant who has the hots for her, and her interference lands the disobediant private in a guarded cell, whilst the young lady is removed from the grounds.
Plump receives an unexpected visitor (his sweetheart in disguise with a baby, which she has paid a woman outside the grounds for the brief loan of) when she visits him to plant some tools in the cell (wrapped in the baby's blanket and unseen by the inept guard).  She leaves and Plump sets about getting to work on escaping the cell by bouncing the guard off his oversized stomach (a rather comical moment in an otherwise pretty standard comedy).
An attempt to saw through the bars in the wall fails and Plump falls onto something sharp on the bed before clumping the guard outside with a rifle over his head, rendering him unconscious.  Having climbed out of the window he is met by his sweetheart who is waiting for him outside.  The lieutenant discovers Plump missing and immediately clumps the guard, before running to inform the colonel, who is on the parade ground inspecting the rifles of the soldiers by staring down the barrels of their guns. (One of the soldiers resembles an adult-sized garden gnome with a great white beard!).  The soldiers fire a white (animated) ball from a cannon which appears to home in on Plump's every move but he turns the tables by catching it and throws it back, destroying the cannon.
The final chase scene ends with one of the soldiers being thrown from horseback into the sea whilst Plump jumps in a dockside crane.  The last scene is rather confusing... another crane is seen being lowered with a man's legs dangling from them followed by the colonel uniting his daughter with the lieutenant and Plump with his sweetheart before the film finishes abruptly.

  Favourite bit

No copyrighted registered.

Filming dates
Unknown.  Filmed in Jacksonville, Florida.

When Hardy kisses his girl in his cell he picks her up by her head.
When the cannon fires the shot at Hardy, does he throw his girl to the floor to save himself - or to protect her?
The final scene unites all five actors.  It is the only time that they all appear together throughout the duration of the film.
As Hardy climbs up the wall to leave the cell there is a very brief split in the frame of film which would indicate it would have been virtually impossible for a man his size to leap up from the bed to the hole in the wall above his head and physically climb through it all in one motion, so the frame splits from him jumping up to actually hanging out of the gap with his legs dangling. (see below)

What the experts say
• Moving Picture World - "Plump and Runt as soldiers in this film are funny."

Babe Hardy
Private Plump
Billy Ruge
Lieutenant Runt
Bert Tracy
Colonel Tracy
Florence McLaughlin
The Colonel's daughter
Rae Godfrey
Plump's sweetheart


"Laurel OR Hardy" - Rob Stone (pp. 156-157)

This page was last updated on: 16 March 2016