The Better 'Ole was based on a play by Bruce Bairnsfather and Arthur Elliot, which was itself inspired by a cartoon character created by Bairnsfather during WWI. Decked out in a lavish paintbrush mustache, Sydney Chaplin is cast as Bairnsfather's immortal British army sergeant Old Bill, whose philosophy is "If you know of a better 'ole [foxhole, that is], go find it!" Convinced that his CO (Charles Gerrard) is a spy for the Kaiser, Old Bill dons a German uniform and sneaks behind enemy lines. The upshot of all this is that our hero is captured by his own men and sentenced to a firing squad! Through sheer dumb luck, Old Bill clears himself and reveals the identity of the actual spy. For many years, The Better Ole was available only in the incomplete version stored at the University of Wisconsin; recently, however, the film was restored to its original length and pictorial quality, and its Vitaphone musical soundtrack (complete with overture) was likewise saved from extinction. The film was directed by Chuck Reisner, who began his career as an assistant to Sydney Chaplin's brother Charlie Chaplin.
by Hal Erickson synopsis