On the Front Page (1926)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Errors  |  
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Stan Laurel, who had been writing and directing for Hal Roach, had recently returned to acting when he was featured in this two-reel comedy. Laurel was just months away from teaming with Oliver Hardy, and many of the characteristics that would later become famous -- most notably his crying routine -- are in full force here. James W. Hornby, the editor of the Daily Squawk (Edwards Davis), is angry because every other newspaper in town is scooping him. He decides to send his scapegrace son (Tyler Brooke) out to find a scandal, and threatens to disown him if he doesn't come through. The Countess Polansky (Lillian Rich) comes to town, and young Hornby decides to get his story by putting her in a compromising situation. His valet, Dangerfield (Laurel), is his unwilling accomplice -- Dangerfield is made to wear a tux owned by Hornby, Sr. and court the countess. The countess figures out the scheme right away, but she goes along with it. Finally, her private secretary (Bull Montana) grabs Dangerfield, who is so frightened that he literally runs out of the tux, leaving it behind. Young Hornby has called the police, who arrive at the countess' hotel room and discover his father's tux. So Hornby gets his scandal -- but not the one he wanted. Hornby's name is undoubtedly an in-joke -- one of Hal Roach's directors was James W. Horne. Ironically, records indicate that Oliver Hardy had a role in this film, but his scenes apparently wound up on the cutting-room floor.

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Keywords

deception, newspaper, scandal, suit, valet [servant]