Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dogs of War - 1923

Country: United States
Language: English (intertitles)
Director: Robert F. McGowan
Writers: Hal Roach (story), H.M. Walker (titles)
Stars: Hal Roach's Rascals, Roy Brooks and Joe Cobb
Release Date: 1 July 1923 (USA)
Filming Locations: Hal Roach Studios - 8822 Washington Blvd., Culver City, California, USA
Production Co: Hal Roach Studios
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Plot Keywords: Children | Our Gang | Reference To Theda Bara | Actor Shares First Name With Character
Genres: Comedy | Family | Short
Two groups of children are staging a mock trench battle in a tomato patch. When the battle ends, one girl's mother comes to take her to her job at the nearby motion picture studio. The other children decide that it might be fun to work there, too, and they sneak into the unsuspecting studio.
This Hal Roach comedy short, Dogs of War, is the fourteenth in the "Our Gang/Little Rascals" series of films produced in the studio named after Mr. Roach, a.k.a. "The Lot of Fun". In this one, the kids reenact a war scene with Mary a nurse that smitten Jack and Mickey fake injuries for fake treatment by her. During many of these proceedings, many members of the gang throw tomatoes as weapons and Farina wanders around and finds a skunk that gets everyone, including the toddler, putting on gas masks! Then Mary's mother comes and takes her daughter away to put her in a picture that pays her five bucks. The gang decide to follow along but they get thrown out. Farina, however, has disappeared so the others crash the West Coast Studios (actually Hal Roach Studios) to find "her". That's when the fun really starts...Hilarious from beginning to end, director Robert McGowan really hits his peak as the series' filmmaker during this silent movie era. Allen Hoskins as Farina has many of the short's scene stealing moments like the time he accidentally makes a treadmill on an empty set move while some workers are standing on it causing them to run in the same place for awhile. This happens to the gang later on. Also very funny is when they see Mary "strangled" by the "villian" and they attempt to kick his butt as a result and their later reenactment of that scene with Jackie ending his with (via inter-title) "Kiss me my boob!" Then there's the later double-exposure scene that must have had the audience of the time in stitches and, finally, there's the other big Hal Roach star at the time, Harold Lloyd at the time of filming "Why Worry?", helping the gang, one of whom happening to be his brother-in-law Jack Davis, escaping the studio guard with the cute way he playfully spanks Farina being the topper of his cameo.  Erine "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison's father, also named Ernie, appears as an assistant director.
Filmed alongside Harold Lloyd's Why Worry?, using the South American town set built for that film, and featuring Lloyd and Jobyna Ralston as themselves.
References: Why Worry? (1923)
Featured in "American Masters: Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius (#4.9)" (1989).

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