Film: 3537

Feature Comedy | 1920 | Silent | B/W


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Walter Forde comedy where a petty criminal steals the handbag of a film actress and ends up being cast as the villain in her film.

A group of people and a policeman chase a man down the street, we see him running off around a corner and the policeman stops to blow his whistle. A woman in a fancy coat and feathered hat stands by a car surrounded by people. Distressed, she talks to a policeman who makes notes. Intertitle - "Pauline Highbrow, the cinema star, has just lost her vanity case - clearly a case for the coppers". A man with a silly moustache listens. Intertitle - "Paul Gottom, a detective, he couldn't catch a fly in a Greek restaurant". He stands and talks to a policeman outside a shop when he notices the culprit hiding in a barrel behind him. Gottom and the policeman turn over the barrel to reveal an empty hole and as Gottom looks down it, he is clubbed on the head by the villain. A comical chase ensues with lots of policemen involved. He ducks in and out of places and spins around lampposts to avoid capture. The bumbling police run around a statue not realising that the villain is on top of the statue in a frozen pose, until he sneezes and gives himself away. For his next trick he hides in a dress on a washing line. He then takes the clothes from a man and disguises himself so that the police walk past him.
He finds a hiding spot and empties out the purse to see what's inside; he's pleased with the loot. Just over the fence a bearded man with a pipe sees him. As the villain puts the purse in his pocket, the bearded man hooks it out again with a stick. He mouths "thanks!" as the villain walks away.
The villain enters a café and sits at a table recently vacated. He pinches the tip form underneath the plate but the waiter sees him and demands it back. Intertitle -"Tea, bread and butter and two poached eggs on toast". The waiter relays the order to the kitchen in cockney rhyming slang. Intertitle - "Barrel of swill, two doorsteps and Adam and Eve on a raft". While he waits for his food, the villain pinches some from the plate of the man next to him. The man glares at him and tries to catch him chewing. A big bolshy man is quibbling payment with the waiter. He stands tall and threatening, flexing his muscles. Intertitle - "I'm broke, if you don't like it, throw me out!". He walks out and no one stops him. Panicking, the villain realises he no longer has the purse with the money. When presented with the bill he tries the same trick as the large man but get thrown out and lands on the pavement.

On the set of a film a man and a woman argue. The actress is Pauline Highbrow. He is insisting that she marrying him and she is refusing. She gets on her knees and he pushes her to the ground. "Enter the hero!". A rather camp man enters the scene and smashes a bottle of his head. A bored looking cameraman rolls the film while resting his arm on the camera and the director sits in front watching. Intertitle - "Cecil B. Gunns, the big noise of the studio was a sound director". Unhappy with the scene, the director gets angry and starts jumping and shouting. He wants them to be more violent and shows the actors how to fight each other with more ferocity.
Forde is sat outside the film set on the pavement while they roll the scene again. Hearing the actress cry "Help!", he clambers over the wall to her rescue. He bursts onto the set and starts to attack the bully. Livid, the director attacks Forde and throws him into a corner. Alarmed that he is hurt, Pauline goes over to Forde and comforts him when she sees the ring form her purse on his finger. She realises e is the thief. Intertitle - "Don't give me away miss, I've tried so hard to go straight". He tells her about the jobs he has had since leaving prison, including and office and a farm but was always pursued by Detective Gottom who told his bosses he was an ex-convict causing him to lose his job. She sympathises and he wipes his eyes. The crew carry out the unconscious villain actor and Pauline convinces the director to give Forde the part - "I'm sure he would make a fine villain". She uses her feminine wiles and tickles him under the chin. They re-enact the scene with Forde as the villain, lots of smashing plates and vases over heads.
The director sets up for the next scene and Forde is enlisted to help with the scenery. He has to bring down a weight when he hears the bell to make a lift go up. In typically comic fashion, he hears a bell outside and goes down at the wrong time, then mishears-hears the bell and squashes the actor below. He ends up squashing several cast and crew members including the director. As one man fights to pull the lift down he lands on electrical switches and electrocutes himself. Forde is chased all over the set and the police join in. He locks himself in a room with Pauline, returns her ring and they embrace but he is caught by the police and taken away.


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