The Villain (1917)

Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Contrary to popular belief, Oliver Hardy did not always play Eric Campbell to Billy West's Charles Chaplin in the 33 comedies they made together. While West was always the premier Chaplin imitator, Hardy's roles were more varied. That was never truer than in this two-reeler, which he plays in drag. West, actually, is not quite as Chaplin-esque as usual here. He plays Billy, a con man who is desperate to get his hands on a doctor's wealth. When his attempts at stealing the money fail, he courts the doctor's daughter, Babe (Hardy -- incidentally, Babe was also Hardy's offstage nickname). The doctor, however, refuses to condone the match, so Billy has Florence (Florence McLoughlin) and two other associates kidnap him. Budd, Babe's true love (Bud Ross), tells her that her father has been abducted and they go to the rescue. They save the old man before he is sawed in half by the crooks. Billy is tossed in jail and even though he escapes once, he and his pals are eventually rounded up. Babe and Budd end the film together.