|Series:||All Stars||♦||Distribution:||Pathé||♦||Director:||Hal Roach||♦||Cinematography:||?|
|Production:||S-22||♦||Type:||Silent short||♦||Producer:||Hal Roach||♦||Editor:||?|
|Released:||25 September 1927||♦||Length:||2-reels||♦||♦||Additional scenes:||Hal Yates|
|BEST DVD VERSION|
A luxurious steamship bound for Monte Carlo from America is full of rich snobs and millionaires. As they begin to board the boat at the docks, Purser Cryder (Oliver Hardy) is checking the passengers on. He flirts with the ladies and snarls at the gentlemen and hurries them on. A posh-looking Baroness Behr (Lupe Velez) arrives by cab, where she (or rather her legs) is instantly recognised by a intrusive photographer. Her drunken husband, the Baron Behr (Will Stanton) arrives separately in the car behind her and falls out of his cab in spectacular fashion!
Chester (Stan Laurel) is a cab driver in a hurry, escorting his two passengers to the docks. They are Madame Ritz (Anita Garvin) and her midget husband Roger, played by Gustav Schaffrath. She is billed as "an international crook whose speciality was robbing steamship passengers". She discards her cigarette in the back of the cab, but it fails to exit the window, instead landing on the back seat whilst still alight. Their cab pulls into the docking area and Cryder opens the door for the beautiful Madame Ritz. His flirting is cut short when the 'baby' messes with his hat and tweaks his nose. Chester, the cabbie, draws his female passenger's attention to the unpaid fare and she tells him to wait there before wandering off to the ship. It's not long before a policeman (Chester Bachman) comes by and tells Chester to move his illegally-parked vehicle, but he refuses to budge until he is paid. A swift whack over the head from the cop's truncheon quickly changes Chester's mind. Now parked by the dockside, Chester attempts to put out a fire which has ignited in the back of the cab from the discarded cigarette but fails to notice that a crane has hoisted him and his car onto the ship. When he realises his predicament he demands to the purser he be set ashore.
Cryder is angered when he loses the interest of a female passenger (Viola Richard) that he is chatting with in a doorway. The purser tells Chester to consult with the captain, which he does. The captain (Frank Brownlee) puts up with the cabbie's tirade and threats for a brief moment before cutting in with "Where's your ticket?" When Chester tells the captain he doesn't have - nor want one, he is considered a stowaway and ordered to work.
Chester protests and aggressively knocks the captain's hat off onto the deck. The captain orders his stooges to throw the man overboard; at which point the cabbie decides to comply with the order to work instead. Cryder orders a seaman to removing his clothing, right under the nose of a passenger (Dorothy Coburn) who is seated in an easy chair on deck. The uniform is passed to Chester, with a firm warning from the captain that he will reprimand anybody who allows him to slack. Chester wanders onto the deck where he somehow gets involved in skipping as a doubles team with a young woman passenger. Cryder has to engage in the group-skipping in order to communicate with his cheeky new crewman before telling him off and putting him back to work. Madame Ritz and her cigar-smoking midget husband are in their room when she tells him she is off to organize a bridge game, whilst Baron Behr drunkely wanders into a room occupied by Tiny Sandford and his half-dressed wife. He is quickly ejected! Twice!
When Chester attends to room service for Madame Ritz (who has just left), he encounters the 'baby' who plays tricks on him. Firstly with a toy snake which springs out of a box when he takes the lid off, and then with a craps game. What seems like a lucky first throw for the baby turns suspicious when the second throw reveals an identical number (a 5+2); and then a third... and a fourth! It's now become apparent what the scheming woman and baby are up to. Chester eventually discovers the rigged dice and chases the baby around the bedroom until Madame Ritz comes in and accuses Chester of trying to hurt her baby. Later, Chester walks into the indoor bathing pool room and receives a dirty look from a female passenger (Lupe Velez). A firm, deliberate shove is all it takes for her to go flying face-first into the water. And when a gentleman onlooker objects, he gets the same treatment. The other bathing beauties (which includes Dorothy Coburn) take swift action in throwing buckets of water over him as he runs out into the corridor and straight into the arms of Cryder, who then takes a peek inside the pool area for himself before being given the same wet treatment.
Shortly afterwards Madame Ritz instructs Chester to take her baby and pram down some stairs. He chooses the quick route... pushing it from the top with one swoop as it flies down the stairs! (see favourite bit). I suppose that it's only right Chester gets a punch in the nose for his actions from Ritz! Chester then casts a suspicious eye over a game of cards, which Madame Ritz has joined in with the passengers, eventually taking over the game to prevent the other players from being cheated; whilst the baby begins to rob passengers of their valuables and stuff them inside the lining of a teddy bear. Chester confronts the baby and demands his $5 back from losing the rigged craps game and threatens to dispose of the bear unless he pays up. He refuses, so Chester dumps the bear in a vent pipe. The baby dives in after it and gets messed up, and uses his dirty appearance to accuse Chester of throwing him down there. The captain orders that Chester clean the baby up, but this reveals the criminal's true identity - a baby complete with a bear-skin rug on his chest!
Chester also discovers the valuables hidden inside the bear and is offered a share of them if he was to keep quiet. Chester refuses and exposes the baby, winning the grateful thanks to the fellow passengers. Though the baby does have the last laugh - beating up Purser Cryder!
Stan Laurel "taking the baby downstairs".
• Production S-22 - All Star series.
• Copyrighted June 9, 1927.
• April 4-14, 1927, with retakes shot by Hal Yates on April 18, 1927.
• Although Hal Yates is credited as the director, it is widely believed Hal Roach himself shot the bulk of the film.
• The opening scenes (except for the gangplank scenes, which were shot on the Roach backlot) were shot at berth 156 at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. The Los Angeles Steamship Company had one of its "gleaming white ocean liners" leaving from this berth to Hawaii on every Saturday during the 1920s. The company had three ships, so the one used as the "S.S. Miramar" for this film was either the S.S. City of Los Angeles, the S.S. City of Honolulu, or the S.S. Calawaii.
• Author RANDY SKRETVEDT writes: "In 1954, Oliver Hardy gave an interview to John McCabe in which he recounted what he remembered as the first of his long-suffering gazes into the camera. The scene he recalled--being hit in the face by buckets of water immediately after opening a door, and then staring into the camera in disgust--is in this film, although Hardy mistakenly remembered it as being in "Why Girls Love Sailors." He doesn't actually stare into the camera after being hit with the water so much as glance a few times at us. What's interesting is that Stan Laurel is playing directly to the camera throughout this entire film, both in long shots and close ups. With their next film, "Do Detectives Think?," the process is more like what it would be in their mature films, with only Ollie breaking the fourth wall and looking directly into the camera. The credited director of this film was Hal Yates, although he actually only directed one day's worth of retakes (April 18, 1927). The actual director for most of the filming (April 4 through 14) was Hal Roach. The reason that Fred Guiol is credited as the director on the available DVD is because the producer of that disc created new main titles (they were missing on the available print, which was from a foreign source) and substituted a director credit title from "With Love and Hisses." This is quite an excellent film, with fine support from Anita Garvin and Viola Richard. The production values are surprisingly elaborate, which isn't really apparent in the battered print that's currently available on DVD."
• The name of the ship is the Mirimar, and its destination is Monte Carlo.
• One source lists May Wallace as being in the film. I think she is confused with Evelyn Burns.
• In the very first scene after the opening intertitle card, passengers ascend the stairs to the ship. They appear to be ghosts - look how the background can be seen through their bodies. It is more evident as they reach the right-hand side of the screen. Notice how the ship behind the gangplank is facing the camera, but the gangplank is going diagonal. In reality the gangplank would be going away from the camera with the ascending passengers backs towards us. This would indicate that two separate shots were merged together; thus a composite shot.
• Lupe Velez wears a dress down to her knees, exposing the lower half of her legs. Quite a risqué shot for 1927.
• The ship is docking from Pier 3, Berth 5.
•Stan Laurel is driving for the Red & White Taxi Co. (number 229).
• There is a gentleman with a moustache wearing a light coloured hat whom Hardy waves on board the ship at the beginning of the film. Despite supposedly being on board the ship he shows up in the next scene back on the dock in the crowd observing Will Stanton as he gets out of his cab and tips his hat. The guy in question is centre-screen in this shot.
• When the cab is hoisted up onto the ship, you can clearly see somebody moving around inside of it, though for safety reasons this probably was not Stan Laurel.
• I think the captain, Frank Brownlee shows great self-composure when he is being poked in the chest by Stan Laurel!
• Dorothy Coburn's brief scene at around 7 minutes into the film, as the lady sitting in the easy chair on deck consists of her pouring a glass of wine, with a magazine on her lap. She then has a blanket pulled down over her head by Oliver Hardy to spare her embarrassment over a partially-dressed sailor. When the two men run off in opposite directions, she lifts up the blanket and protests. The whole scene lasts exactly 11 seconds. She is later seen, briefly on the deck throwing the ball to fellow passengers (just after the skipping scene - she is standing on the right of the screen). I also have a strong suspicion she is also in the scene with the indoor pool as well, on the far left on the screen.
• The license plate on Stan Laurel's cab is 1-254 57.
• Was Tiny Sandford's wife actually wearing any underwear when Will Stanton stumbles into her room? She is in a state of undress, but there is definitely a suggestion that she was naked underneath her robe.
• Most sources credit HARRY EARLES as Roger/the baby. He is in fact German midget actor Gustav Schaffrath.
What the experts say
• "Surprisingly decent two-reeler." ~ Lord Heath.
Roger / The Baby
Man in robe
Lady in easy chair/Bathing beauty
Policeman on dock
Man on dock
Passenger on ship
Man boarding boat
Society girl (possibly bathing girl)
|LOBBY CARD||DVD TITLE CARD|
|SHOT ON THE LOT
The following scenes were filmed on the Hal Roach Back Lot and are included in the TOUR
|SHOT ON LOCATION|
Randy Skretvedt (information)
Jesse Brisson (information)
Chester Bachman and Ed Brandenburg were my own observations.
Steve Wright (identification of Lyle Tayo)
LampyMeier2007 (identification of Gustav Schaffrath)
This page was last updated on: 27 May 2021