One of the more delightful comedy features of the silent era, this is also Harry Langdon’s best film. He plays a little Belgian soldier who comes to America in search of his wartime pen pal.
While the film is a loose series of comedic antics, Langdon holds it together with his elfin persona. Gertude Astor also deserves major props as the gangland moll who stashes cash in our hapless hero’s pocket and then must retrieve it.
This is a definite must-see, especially for fans of director Frank Capra.
How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.Harry finds his pen pal and helps her out of a sticky situation. Gertrude gets her money, too.
Read my full-length review here. I touch on the Capra-Langdon feud but if you want a calm, smart and reasonable breakdown of the situation, I highly recommend Harry Langdon: King of Silent Comedy by Gabriella Oldham and Mabel Langdon.
If it were a dessert it would be: A Cheesecake Sampler. Small bits of business, each more delightful than the last.
Availability: Released on DVD by Kino but it looks like the disc is out of print. (Sends telepathic hint to the Criterion Collection.)
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Keyword in your full-length review is ‘gentle.’ A delicate touch, gentle humor with or without pathos, is definitely what’s missing from the so-called humor of the Carrey/Sandler/Stiller films of today.
And the sweetness of Langdon’s persona (that cute face!) is what I love in all his silents and also in ‘Zenobia’ with Oliver Hardy.
Yes, Harry has a certain magic that has never been replicated anywhere else.
I have seen most of what’s available of his 1924-26 short subjects, and 1929-30 Roach two-reelers, yet none of his feature-length work from 1926-28. I need to get going on that! I really enjoy the, err, off-beat nature of his work.
P.S. Are there any of those ubiquitous balloons with faces that mysteriously show up to frighten Harry from behind? That would be an instant bonus!!
Definitely see The Strong Man, it’s the essence of what makes Harry Harry. (Don’t remember any balloons here, though.)
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