5.9/10
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4 user 1 critic

Smile Please (1924)

As both the local photographer and the sheriff, Harry must track down an arsonist and deal with his un-photogenic in-laws.

Director:

Roy Del Ruth

Writer:

John A. Waldron (titles) (as J.A. Waldron)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Harry Langdon ... Otto Focus - the Hero
Alberta Vaughn ... Otto's Sweetheart
Jack Cooper Jack Cooper ... Dudley Somerset - Otto's Rival
Madeline Hurlock ... A Lonely Wife
Tiny Ward Tiny Ward ... The Lonely Wife's Husband
Jackie Lucas Jackie Lucas ... Young Relative
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Storyline

Our hero is the town's photographer and its sheriff. He's in love with a young woman who's also pursued by the older, more devious Dudley Somerset. First our hero must do a few heroic things, saving the lass from danger. He must also not move too quickly on the romantic front. Once she's willing to marry him, he must balance the duties of groom with that of sheriff, while Dudley tries to convince the lass that our hero is untrue to her. Once all is straightened out, the hero makes peace by inviting her family to a photo shoot. Her little brother wrecks havoc. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 March 1924 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Look Pleasant See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mack Sennett Comedies See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in 30 Years of Fun (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unfocused but fun
22 September 2009 | by hte-trasmeSee all my reviews

This was Harry Langdon's third film, his second released, his first for Mack Sennett, and his earliest to survive. It's evident here that the Sennett filmmakers did not have a sense yet of what would become the style that suited Langdon's talents the best. In fact, while charming, the film is virtually plot less, with what plot there is essentially arbitrary and senseless.

The first half is a few scenes revolving around the strange premise of Harry as a "Sheriff and Photographer" who catches a man and a woman, then for some reason photographs them, and competes for the woman against the man who tries to thwart him (through tactics such as trying to burn down a house he is in), eventually ends up getting married to her. It's fast-paced as befits a Sennett film, but the series of clever gags it contains is actually quite creative and doesn't rely too much on pure slapstick.

Langdon is cast as the kind of brash, active, and slightly vindictive role that Stan Laurel often played early in his career, but he manages through his performance to turn the role into something better fitting his style without undermining the style of the film (such as it is). Look at his facial reactions and pantomimes when he has the hanger still in his tuxedo jacket. Look at his little takes at the girl in his arms when he realizes he has been caught by her husband in a potentially incriminating situation. Look at other little reactions to gag situations throughout the film. Catch that great final gag, which I won't spoil for you.

The second half of the film might as well have been made separately or first -- Harry is in a new or resurrected studio photographing the a family supposedly related to his new wife and being tormented by a mischievous child.

There are some dangerous-looking scenes shot in what looks like an actual burning building and with an actual hive of disturbed bees.

The film is basically a patchwork of fun, almost unrelated gags and situations that almost not cohesive enough to have been made up on the spot, with Harry Langdon injecting little hints of himself into the proceedings. It won't win any awards for coherence (or anything, really), but it's saved by being a fun watch nonetheless. It's random and silly, but it's not supposed to be anything else, and while Harry is not used to best advantage, it's much better with him shading the material with a suggestion of his comic style than it would have been with anyone else.


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