Film: 8326

Feature Comedy | 1920 | Silent | B/W

Synopsis:

Silent slapstick comedy set on a railroad train. Much of the action is on the roof with good stunts and chases. Classic shot of man holding onto train as he leans over from car, and stretches. This is a shortened two-reel release version of a feature, cut to show the high-pace drama and chase scenes.

[00:12:08] Title: Virginia Craig, the runaway heiress. A young girl sits in an armchair looking dramatically unhappy. She is comforted by an older man. A villain looks through a window nearby, communicating with a well-dressed businessman with a moustache, who gives him the nod to go ahead. The villain looks pleased and proceeds. He hails a bunch of no-goods in flat caps brandishing batons. They walk past Monty Banks and go to lie in wait for Virginia and the older man. As the two exit, the villains ambush them. Monty runs to them but is caught by one of the villains, who swings him right round by the arm. Monty starts to speak but the suited businessman punches him in the face. The businessman drags Virginia inside while the other older man and the villains chase Monty.

[01:02:00] Monty runs in at a door and out another, as the villains trail behind. He scales up a ladder (some sort of mail delivery device), but then appears at a window lower down as the villains pass. He runs back to confront the violent businessman, who pretends to placate him then punches him in the face once more as Virginia watches. She jumps up to stop them but they begin to brawl. The two run back and forth across the room fighting and bouncing off each other. Monty punches the man, forcing him through a door which shuts before Monty can follow, and he runs right into it head first. He enters the room to see the old man swaying around only half-conscious. Monty sits him down in a chair and after spilling a jug of water, puts the jug into the man's hands. He pushes him on the chair through the next door back into the corridor, and shuts the door and locks him out saying "Don't worry. Everything'll be all right".

[01:59:00] Virginia enters frantically, and she and Monty panic trying to plan their escape as they see the villains run past outside the window. Monty runs into the study to use the 2-piece telephone but uses a glass as the earpiece and accidentally pours water down his face. He makes exaggerated faces trying to use the telephone to get help. A suited heavy with floppy hair and a large baton enters, manically looking for the pair. Monty gets through on the phone and asks the listener to "Send a wagon load of police!". But the heavy enters causing Monty to panic as he smugly shows him that he has the key and they are locked in. He takes off his coat and as he does so Monty steals his baton but then gingerly puts it back. The heavy uses the baton to threaten Monty and smash a chair Monty holds up to protect himself. Monty throws something in his face and, climbing on top of a bookcase, pelts the books down onto his enemy who bats them away. Monty dives off the bookcase down onto him, kicks him in the stomach, runs to climb on a different bookcase then dives onto him again. A sequence of duck and diving ensues, with Monty stealing the baton and both running around the room. Monty finds a bottle of liquor (?) on a sideboard and launches it at the heavy. It smashes on his head and black liquid pours down his face. Monty looks pleased as his enemy swings the baton around, half-blind. Monty realises he can open the door, and tries to steal the key from the heavy while crawling around and kicking him. He steals it and calls from other parts of the room to distract him, then opens the door, lets in a man in a flat cap and holds him as protection while the heavy hits him with the baton. Monty then disappears through the door into the corridor.

[04:03:00] He is greeted by the girl and together they start to telephone for help, but as they do the heavy and the flat cap man burst through the door and, pushing Virginia through a nearby door, Monty flees. He exits the building, followed by the moustached heavy who crashes into another of his flat-cap fiends, and the three run after Monty. Monty runs onto a train station platform where a train is waiting to depart, as all the heavies arrive chasing him. Virginia exits the building too, followed by the well-dressed businessman and another flat-cap. Virginia runs onto the train platform and hides between two carriages as the heavies stumble around the train trying to find Monty. From the opposite side of the train all the heavies are seen emerging and running off, but one remains behind and catches Monty as he too appears. Monty soon punches him and knocks him out, bent double on the floor. Monty sees the others and runs into a pylon trying to run, then runs to board the engine as heavies give chase. He climbs into the driver's cabin and a punching match ensues during which a lever is kicked, causing steam to rise and the train to pull out of the station. The well-dressed businessman and the flat cap heavies on the platform realise and run along to board the train. One old man is left sitting on the track itself after he falls off, shaking his fists in annoyance.

[05:14:00] The train heads down the track and under a bridge as the heavies fight around the engine, and Monty manages to push them all off onto the side track. Monty jumps down too and tries to search for Virginia. He sees her hailing from one of the goods carriages where she is trapped and signals that he's coming after her. He jumps onto a nearby horse and cart used to sell fruit - bananas! - and gives chase as the heavies follow frantically on foot. Monty cracks the reigns trying to giddy up the horse and the heavies shake their batons as the run after. Monty tries to stand up but falls back into the cart of bananas. He pushes all the bananas off onto the road and as the flat-cap heavies reach the pile they all slip up on them, falling around comically into a pile and slipping around as they struggle to get up.

[06:01:00] Monty drives his steed furiously on, spotting Virginia once more and trying to give chase. In doing so he veers across highways narrowly missing other traffic. He drives the cart down a street lined with telegraph poles and a shop called 'Mexico', running into a racing car which goes out of control and slices the back end off Monty's cart, leaving him clinging desperately onto what is now a two-wheeled chariot. He regains his balance and careens on down a house-lined street and a grocery store, and Monty ties the reigns around his neck for better grip. The cart comes up against more road traffic and veers off to the left, gathering speed as the horse canters through a fence and the cart collapses, leaving Monty mounted backwards on the horses back and still tied to the reigns by the neck.

[06:51:00] He falls off (of course) and is pulled along by the reins, running along on a lead by the horse who is off down the street at full speed. Monty shouts to try and stop the horse, "Whoa Min!" as a dog yaps alongside, "Whoa Genevieve!", then at a last frantic guess, "WHOA JACK!". The horse comes to halt and Monty collapses next to it, untying the noose from his neck. Regaining his composure, he carries on his mission to save Virginia and rushes to ask help from the racing driver. They can see the back of the train with the hoodlums looking out, and the racer agrees so jumps in the car and Monty follows. Monty dives in head first though, and as they race off his legs are waving in the air out of the motor car.

[07:33:00] Virginia looks out the goods carriage to see the car racing alongside the train. The well-dressed businessman sees it too and pulls a worried face. He directs one of his flat-caps to do something about it. Low-level shot of train wheels and pistons turning as Monty drives alongside. Monty and the racer veer around traffic and obstacles as Virginia looks on. He struggles to get close to the train but then finds a gap and the racing car drives straight across the train track in front of the engine buffer, narrowly avoiding being smashed to bits by the train. The car continues chase on the other side of the train. Monty leans out the racing car to try and board the train but ends up clinging on stretched between the two, hands on the train, feet in the car. Virginia sees and is concerned ("be careful, be careful"), and the racing driver notices another train is heading straight for his car from the opposite direction further down the track. He stands up and jumps off the car for safety.

[08:52:00] Monty looks up and is horrified as he sees the approaching train, but manages to scramble aboard his as the other train smashes into the racing car, blowing it to smithereens. He gives a sigh of relief as he scales up the ladder on the outside of the carriage onto the roof of the train. The flat-cap heavies are there too, shuffling along the roof single file giving chase. Side shots of the various parties on the train roof, running along back and forth from carriage to carriage as the train moves down the track. Monty grabs onto an overhead pylon and swings past some of his enemies, and we see the water pipe up ahead where the train goes over a small bridge. The train smashes into the pipe and a jet of water is shot over the roof as the train moves past, pushing some of the heavies off into the water below.

[09:55:00] Monty looks on and then runs down the carriage roofs as the jet of water 'chases' him along. The water stops just in time before he is forced off the back of the train. He ends up on the final carriage, shouting over the edge down to Virginia below. He tries to turn a wheel but it snaps off, so he finds a rope, ties it onto something and lower himself over the edge of the carriage and into Virginia's door. Long shot of the train wheeling through the mountains. Virginia climbs onto Monty and back up the rope he has come down, to escape the carriage. She uses her foot on Monty's head to lever herself up, and then Monty tries to follow but ends up clinging for his life off the edge of the train holding onto the rope. They go through a tunnel and out the other side and Monty is still hanging off the side, now with some sacking stuck over his face. Close up Virginia looking concerned. The train goes past a row of cacti or spiky yucca plants and as he reaches each Monty's bottom is pricked and he raises up his body in pain.

[11:40:13] The train carries on round the moutain range with Monty hanging off the side, and a chicken or hen falls out of the carriage and flaps around on his face. Whilst trying to evict the hen, he manages to let one hand go the rope and remove the large plant spikes from his backside. Virginia signals to him there are some violent turns ahead and we see the view from the top of the train veering left and right. Close up on the rope which is wearing thin at the top from rubbing against the roof. It breaks and Monty falls somersaulting down the side of the train but grabs onto a metal rail and somehow climbs up to the roof to join Virginia. They embrace briefly and then Monty slip slides along the roof while she crawls. He climbs down and removes the bolt between two carriages but ends up on the wrong one. Virginia's carriage ends up alongside his after a turn in the railtrack and the two signal to each other from their respective roofs.

[13:05:00] Monty removes a plank from his carriage roof and uses it to make a bridge over to Virginia. He tries to walk it tightrope-style but ends up hanging off the underside. It is then broken in half by a pylon and he is once more hanging off the edge of the carriage, the plank wedged in with Virginia trying to stop the end coming loose. The plank falls off along with Monty, who rolls and somersaults dramatically down over the rocks and bushes on the adjacent hillside. By the time he reaches the bottom though the runaway carriage is there too, and he falls back onto the roof with Virginia. She shakes him as he lolls starry eyed, and kisses him on the lips. He regains consciousness and looks into camera, and touches his lips and whoops for joy.

[14:12:00] He does a victory dance down the roof of the carriage but then as their carriage pulls back onto the main track, the original train pulls in behind them. Both shut their eyes as they head full speed for a hairpin bend, but their carriage miraculously continues on while the train behind them crashes over the edge into the canyon. They look relieved. As one last shock they see their track come to an end ahead, but there is a buffer and the carriages stops dead on reaching it but the couple are flung over the edge. They fly through the air and land in a giant haystack, Monty head first with legs akimbo. They sit up and smile at each other as they realise they haven't broken any bones. Fade out to 'The End'.


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