The Whole Truth (1923)

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Stan Laurel was about to begin a new series of two-reel comedies for Hal Roach, but the producer needed one more one-reeler for his schedule, and they quickly knocked this one off, using unused footage of Roughest Africa and another, unnamed film. Laurel plays a ladies' man here (quite a different turn from his usual comic persona), and his wife (Helen Gilmore) is divorcing him on grounds of desertion. To explain why he turned up missing, Stan weaves an elaborate tale about squirrel hunting with his attorney (James Finlayson) and running afoul of a rhinoceros (this section was obviously lifted from the cutting-room floor of Roughest Africa). Nobody is willing to buy that story, so the judge forces him to take truth serum in pill form. Stan then reveals that he was buying flowers for his wife and the druggist unknowingly poured chloroform in them. We see Stan walking down the street with the flowers, and everyone whom he walks past falls down in a faint. Finally Stan takes a whiff of the flowers himself and passes out. While he is unconscious, he is used as a store mannequin and when he wakes up he is very late coming home. His wife believes this story and they reconcile. But as they exit the courtroom, Stan turns to face the camera and pulls the unswallowed pill out of his mouth.