Series: All Stars w/The Boy Friends

Director: George Stevens
Producer: Hal Roach
Dialogue: H.M. Walker
Photography: Ernest 'Hap' Depew
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: Elmer Raguse

Stars: Mickey Daniels, Grady Sutton, Mary Kornman, David Sharpe, Gertrude Messinger, Betty Bolen
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 28 February 1931
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: S-37
Filming dates: November 7-22, 1930
Rating: 8/10

High Gear

It's Sunday morning and the Daniels family sit at their breakfast table discussing Mickey who is still in bed. "He'll soon be old enough to hang" quips his father (Harry Bernard). Even Mickey's sister Betty (Bolen) makes an unflattering remark about him. Mickey arrives at the table where he causes nothing but trouble; first helping himself to Pa's breakfast and then inadvertently causing Pa to splash himself with a big bowl of something on the table before making him sit down on a waffle toaster. A telephone call comes through from 'Doctor' Sharpe who tells Mr. Daniels that due to his condition he cannot be driving his car today. Mickey, who has obviously set it up so that he can have the car, manages to wrestle permission from his father, though under strict conditions he takes Betty with him and that the car doesn't get a scratch.
Mary is in the bath (at this point I had to pause the film for 10 minutes!) reading a book when a half-dressed Gertie asks if Mary has her "whatchamacallit" on? Dave, Mickey, Betty and Alabam pull up outside the girls' house in the car as Gertie introduces Mary as her sister from the upstairs window. Mickey salutes the girls just as a car rear-ends them and sends Mickey into a somersault over into the back seat. He emerges from underneath the car and confronts the reckless motorist (Will Stanton). The motorist hits Mickey and then breaks Alabam's pipe. When Alabam retaliates, the motorist calls upon his large chauffeur (Tiny Sandford) to take charge of the situation. He fails miserably. The motorist then aggressively drives his car, pushing the others down the street and into a traffic policeman (Edgar Kennedy) who then pulls them over and gives Mickey a lengthy ticket.
The cop returns to his podium in the street but soon suffers a nervous breakdown when all the motorists honk at him. Despite Dave's protests over the ticket, Kennedy gives him a ticket too. The girls come to the rescue when the cop's face gets covered in ink from a pen as they clean him up. Kennedy is just about to rip up the tickets as a gesture of gratitude until Betty refers to him as 'Flat foot'. The tickets are promptly re-issued and everybody goes on their way. But it isn't enough for the cop who catches up with them later after Mickey's car gets a puncture and decides to take his fingerprints. Mickey ends up sticking his thumbs through the cop's glasses - and then his pocket watch. Whilst all this is going on, Dave and Alabam swap the cops' car tyre with their own broken one. Kennedy's reaction when he finds out is hilarious!
Later that afternoon the car gets stuck in the mud when a rainstorm finds them stranded in a country lane. The rain washes the paint off the car as the wind blows the roof off. The girls take refuge at a nearby house which they presume is empty, only to discover there are four crooks there. The leader (Dick Gilbert in a rare speaking role) locks the girls in a room as the guys enter the house one by one. The thug deals with Alabam, then Mickey and then Dave. But Dave fights back and overpowers the thug and his accomplices before he gets his chance to show off his acrobatic skills, swinging from a light fitting on the ceiling and well, just showing off for 5 minutes (yawn). Everybody starts fighting everybody, people go flying out of windows, in the mud, slammed into tables, Mickey repeatedly smashing Dick Gilbert over the head with glass bottles until finally the cop comes to the house to investigate. Bad move.

Favourite bit
Mary Kornman nude in a bathtub. Come on, that wasn't too hard was it?

Copyrighted February 2, 1931. However, the copyright date on the opening credits states 1930 (in Roman numerals).
The fifth film in the series.
In the opening scene at the breakfast table after Betty Bolen grabs the last waffle off the plate, she runs her fingers down the front of her shirt in what I think is a very provocative manner!
Harry Bernard is supposedly American (in real life he was British) - but why does he have such a blatantly obvious Irish accent in the film? His name in this film is 'Horatio', for gods sake!
This was Betty Bolen's first film for Hal Roach. She would go on to appear in 8 of the "Boy Friends" films.
The book Mary reads in the bath is called "Newport Manners - Or How To Become One Of The Upper Crust".
Mickey tells the cop that he lives at 238 Elm Street.
When cop Edgar Kennedy fills out the traffic ticket for Mickey it is dated November 23rd, 1930 (which was a Sunday, and coincides with the setting of the film which supposedly takes place on a Sunday). Filming actually wrapped on November 22, 1930. The stamped heading of the ticket reads "Culver City Police Department - Notice of Arrest". He is charged with "Open cutout", "Wrong side of street", "Cutting button", "No lights", "Reckless driving", "Possession of stolen car", "Driving while intoxicated" and "Hit and Run".
My opinion
This one is actually rather entertaining. Some good scenes are scattered throughout the twenty minutes; Mary Kornman in a bathtub (you don't see anything unfortunately), Gertie Messeinger in her see-through lingerie; Mickey's stunt in the car; the argument between Will Stanton/Tiny Sandford. A surprisingly good film with plenty of laughs and situations which get progessively funnier all the way through.

Mickey Daniels
Grady Sutton
Mary Kornman
David Sharpe
Gertrude Messinger
Betty Bolen
Betty Daniels
Edgar Kennedy
Dick Gilbert
Tiny Sandford
Wilbur, the chauffeur
Will Stanton
Harry Bernard
Horatio Daniels
May Wallace
Mrs. Daniels
Baldwin Cooke
Police sergeant

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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Chris Bungo's "Then & Now" video presentation

Fran Gilbert (still)
Chris Bungo (locations)

This page was last updated on: 13 March 2023