Film: 4223

Feature Comedy | 1940 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

Comedy with Leon Errol as suspicious husband, goes to house and spies on wife who appears to be having an affair. Some stunning fake hammy acting. Man is shot with superb over the top acting. Big misunderstandings and fake murder. Errol then goes on the run pursued by the police and what appears to be a dead body.

Art Deco-style title font over amusing comedy picture: A cartoon man and a woman fight over a car.

Exterior. Daylight. At the entrance to a house, two men creep carefully to the entrance. One is wearing a 'yellow cab' driver's uniform, and the other a suit and Trilby. The first man summons the second away from the door and to the window.
They tip-toe around the corner of the house, stopping underneath a high window( from where romantic declarations can be heard) and pathetically try and attempt to look in. The man in uniform sees a box and they use it to stand on and look in. We see their two hats as they look inside. We see what they see; an older looking man sat close to a young woman, the people we can hear talking. The scene is framed in shadows. (woman:'. our marriage has been nothing but a mockery', man:' we must fly away together'). The man in trilby (Leon Errol) and the other are looking through the window; L.E reacts dramatically to this, covering his face and shaking his head in sadness, he sinks down. The cab man looks at him with pity. He comforts Errol and they walk away.
Interior. Same room, as seen through window, with the man and woman (Errol's wife) seated. Plush but fussy décor. Flowers decorate the curtains; flowers on the sofa and flowers are also on the seated woman's dress. Another woman enters and fabulous dramatic, hammy ,over- acting begins. The second lady accuses the first of being '..a siren…a jezebel..', revealing herself to be the man's wife. She stands proud with hands on heart; the adulteress jumps up in alarm; the husband puts a hand to his forehead and strikes a pose of theatrical shock. Close-up: 'Rufus' is still in his pose. Errol's wife is behind him pleading for an explanation. He turns, points at his own wife in affirmation, and returns to his shock pose. E's wife walks slowly and dramatically backwards ('…you'll pay for this!!!' ) and raises her arm. Rufus' wife is stooped by the sofa and overacting crying.
Exterior. E and friend hear a scream as they are leaving though a fence. They turn back with haste.
Interior. E's wife holds a gun towards Rufus and shoots. R clutches at his chest, 'great heavens', as he milks a fall, but ends up just running out of the room, behind a curtain. Exterior. Errol hurries to the same place underneath the window. Interior. The women stand in the same place for a dramatic few seconds; a very bad Rufus dummy falls out from behind the curtain. R's wife swoons, 'oh, you've killed him!'; as E's wife stands proud, holding her gun aloft.
Errol appears at the window looking worried, wringing his hands and silently wailing. A policeman in his car pulls up and inquires as to what E is up to. E quickly gets down off the box and runs off. The police give chase. E has hidden behind some flowers and they run past. He emerges and goes back to his vantage point.
Interior. An alive) Rufus reappears from behind the curtains. He picks up the dummy and thanks the women for a good rehearsal. The woman playing his wife say goodbye and leaves. Errol's wife helps R to put the dummy into a large wicker box. R leaves and she continues stuffing the dummy into the box -its head and torso still sticking out. E appears at the window transfixed. His wife pushes the body all the way in and close the lid. E sees this and in shock, climbs into the room, towards her.
Leon Errol does some amusing panicky acting, trying to hurry his wife into escaping. He pushes the box, now tied with rope, to on side. He clutches at her and looks around for a plan. He opens a door and walks into a closet. Coats fall on his head and he thinks the lights have gone out. He picks the box up and rushes out of another exit, while his wife stands in the same spot imploring for an explanation.
The other actress enters and comes to E's wife( Vivian), hold her and enquires after E. Vivian explains, ' he's been drinking again..'. Rufus arrives with the police. The women explain that E is drunk.
Exterior .Errol pushes the door in the fence open and carries the box through. An old man in overalls stands mixing something on a table next to his young grandson, in shorts and cap. They are in a workman's yard with a stone stove/chimney visible. E walks slowly along side the fence holding the box. Aerial view: E is on one side of the fence on the pavement and the old man is visible on the other. The police rush through the door in the fence, onto the pavement. E sees them, looks around in panic, then up, and begins to push the box over the fence. The box falls on to the old man. A loop in the rope gets caught around E's neck on the other side. The box hangs half way down and the old man moves closer to inspect it. The police come up to E as he is struggling with the rope around his neck. They question him. The old man pulls at the box on the other side and E's head hits the wall repeatedly. This does not help E's answers, he can only grunt; the cops think he is being 'smart'. The police leave. The old man pushes the box back over the fence, the rope slackens and E frees his head. The box then lands on him. He picks it up and tip-toes along for a few yards. He place the box down, takes the ends of the rope and puts them over his shoulder, to carry the box. A large lorry drives past and E is flattened against the wall. He collects himself and steps away from the wall but is caught for a second. Close-up: The box is caught on a nail in the wall. As E moves away, a hole is torn in the wicker box. As he regains his balance, he is unaware that one of the dummy's hands has fallen out of the hole.
Exterior. Front of the house. Vivian stands with Rufus and the actress. The two policeman approach. They have not found Errol they say; Vivian leave with them to search.
E stops behind the corner of a building. He is in front of a white wooden garage-type door. He puts the box down and rests; leaning against the wall and wiping the sweat from his brow. A man approaches; he notices the hand, looks at E, screams and runs off. E is none the wiser.
The cabbie friend sits on his cab doing the cross word. E arrives with box and arm hanging out; he asks to be 'taken down the docks..'. His friend cries out and runs away. E 'shushes' him in panic but is none the wiser. He walks off.
Street corner. A lovely vibrant comedy moment. A cocky young boy in flash baggy trousers and striped t-shirt, sells newspapers. He is animated and a showman, shouting out for people to '..read about the horrible trunk murders!'. Many people buy; they are dressed in smart forties daywear. A grocery shop is visible behind. E arrives and walks up to the crowd. The boy turns, notices, stammers and screams. All people throw their papers in the air and run away.
The cabbie notices the police man with E's wife drive past He jumps on the running board and directs it down to where E is. E hides behind a sign on the pavement, looking round occasionally. A large man and a woman exit a shop. The man notices the arm, shouts and faints. E rushes off with the box. His friend spots him and the car stops. Errol is in front of a hardware shop surrounded by a large mob of people. Some of the men carry sticks. A tousle begins. E's wife runs quickly to stop any violence. One of the men put a rope around his neck. The mob moves closer. E tries to explain to the police, pleading that it was him and not her. Men grab at him as his wife bends to untie the rope around the box. The policeman reveals the dummy. Men still grab at him. The dummy is visible, sticking out of the box. Errol talks to all the men- (pretending that he knew all along and was only trying to teach his wife a lesson; cabbie joins in the lecture, warning of his first sign of infidelity was when 'she borrowed the car'. E questions the men; they all think, worry, realize in alarm and then run off separately in panic.


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