Don Key (1926)

Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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This two-reel comedy was one of the most jumbled films made at the Hal Roach studio. Although its title is a spoof on the Douglas Fairbanks Sr. film, Don Q, Son of Zorro, disappointingly, the plot is something else altogether. Perhaps at some point it was a satire, however, because it was reshot, re-written, and it changed stars over the better part of 1925. At first Frank Butler had the lead, then Lucien Littlefield, and finally the main characters were Max Davidson as Mr. Browning, a frustrated studio executive, and Stuart Holmes as an aspiring and none-too-talented screenwriter. Holmes proceeds to relate the plot of his latest opus to Mr. Browning, a confusing mix involving a monkey, a den of lions, burglars, a girl with two suitors, and a baby. None of it makes sense (obviously these scenes are all snippets from previous versions of the film) and the screenwriter is driving Mr. Browning nuts. Occasionally, office boys Spec O'Donnell and Jerry Mandy show up with various weapons and offer to get rid of the screenwriter permanently. Each time, Browning turns them down, but the next screenwriter who shows up in his office does get shot. Incidentally, one of the many writers who get credit for this curious film is future comic great Stan Laurel.