Monday, May 14, 2012

Howdy Duke - 1927

Country: United States
Director: Norman Taurog
Writer: Norman Taurog
Stars: Lupino Lane, Wallace Lupino and Kathryn McGuire
Release Date: 16 January 1927 (USA)
Production Co: Lupino Lane Comedy Corporation
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Genres: Short | Comedy
Lane plays two roles: Grand Duke Algy Horseradish De Ketchup of Worcestershire and Newsboy White. The newsboy is hired by Elmer Éclair (played by Lane's younger brother, Walter Lupino) to impersonate the Duke for unstated reasons, and to attend a house party at the Smalls (a last name that leads to several puns) in the Duke's stead. Éclair warns the newsboy to stay away from the girl, as she is his finance. The newsboy is somewhat at sea at the elaborate dinner being confused by the multitude of silverware. He begins to tell a story about lion hunting and there is further mayhem with flying food. Of course, he falls for the very girl he was warned to stay away from. Most of the physical comedy takes place in and around the indoor pool. What an elaborate and beautiful set it is. Soon the real Duke shows up and the next phase of the short is the villain getting the two characters confused (we can tell the real Duke from the newsboy because he wears a monocle). A lot of pratfalls and running around and of course, the newsboy gets the girl at the end. My favorite stunt was when Lane was in an automobile tire and rolling down a long street. It's a miracle he didn't break his neck – what an amazing athlete he was. Sometimes the title cards for these shorts are as funny as the physical routines. One of the best in this one was "Have an accident? No -you idiot-I just had one." Forget the storyline in the Lupino Lane shorts – just sit back and enjoy the fun.

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