Tuesday 3 April 2007

Long Fliv the King (1926) Leo McCarey

Princess Helga of Thermosa is in town buying expensive dresses, but back home people are plotting against her. Her father, the king, is dead and the decree is that if she isn't married in 24 hours she loses the right to succeed. She hits on the bright idea of marrying a man on death row with only a day left to live. That way she satisfies the requirements given her without getting landed with a husband. Of course the prisoner is Charley Chase and a minute after the ceremony is over he's pardoned and chasing after his new wife.

Proving that nothing is new in Hollywood, this turns out to be a remake of an earlier Hal Roach film called His Royal Slyness, with Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis. Now, as much as I can enjoy Charley Chase he really isn't Harold Lloyd who had the same everyman look but more character and less vaudevillian posing, and this Princess Helga, Martha Sleeper is far from being Mildred Davis. Fred Malatesta plays the evil Prime Minister of Thermosa as a cross between a court jester and and a pantomime villain, which is very tiresome.

Luckily there's Oliver Hardy on hand as the Prime Minister's assistant, and while he doesn't get a huge amount to do, he's more than fine doing it. There's also Max Davidson, who looks like a character if ever I saw one. I'd like to see him in sound pictures, which apparently I have without realising it. I wonder if his voice is as memorable as his face.

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