Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Sophisticated, silk-hatted silent-film comedian Raymond Griffith had at least one classic in him, and Hands Up was that film. Griffith plays a Southern spy during the Civil War, sent West to retrieve a vital gold shipment. Along the way, he meets boisterous Mack Swain (who was nearly booted from the film because the vainglorious Griffith felt he was "too goddamned funny") and falls in love with both of Swain's pretty daughters (Marian Nixon, Virginia Lee Corbin). After the Civil War angle has been eliminated from the proceedings, Griffith must rescue Swain and his daughters from a band of Indians. This, however, does not solve the basic dilemma: how can Griffith marry two women, both of whom he loves with equal fervor? The answer (curiously missing from many available prints of this film) is to head to Salt Lake City, the polygamy capitol of America. Though Griffith never displays an emotion nor outwardly elicits audience sympathy throughout Hands Up, we're pulling for him all the way, eagerly anticipating his every move. Best bit: Griffith, facing a firing squad comprised of the best skeet-shooters in the region, blithely throws a plate into the air--whereupon the squad instinctively takes aim at the plate, allowing Our Hero to escape!
daughter, marriage, polygamy, firing-squad, rescue, love-triangle, Native-American, Civil-War [US], dilemma, espionage, gold, Yankee [Northerner]