And now we have another W. C. Fields silent comedy, the 1926 movie It’s The Old Army Game, also starring Louise Brooks.
In this movie, W. C. Fields plays Elmer Prettywillie, the owner of a drugstore. Amongst his many problems, he has customers that require his services even at night, he lives with his sister and his spoiled brat nephew, and he struggles to get enough sleep. At one point, he offers some space to a con man, George Parker, who sells lots to others hoping to make money. George ends up falling for Mildred (Louise Brooks), who works at Elmer’s drugstore. When George is arrested, Elmer tries to go to New York to do something about it.
While you can see I tried, realistically, this movie doesn’t really have much of a plot. It feels to me a lot like the movie was kind of built starting with the various gags and comedy routines, and then connected by some semblance of plot. I think a lot of the gags do work, and W. C. Fields does well here, even if we are lacking that well-known voice of his. Of course, we do get him using one of his famous lines, “Never give a sucker an even break!” I do like this movie, but I do have some issue with the plot, as it seems like most reviewers tend to focus on different aspects of the events happening, with most sticking to the first part of the movie in which Elmer struggles to get enough sleep (a problem that seemed to disappear for the rest of the movie). As I said, this is one I would recommend.
Like Running Wild, this movie seems to have had some restoration done for the recent Blu-ray and DVD release. For the most part, it looks pretty good, although it certainly still has some lesser-looking moments, with some scratches and other debris. However, as I said about Running Wild, most of the time, we will be lucky to get movies of this era looking THIS good, never mind the harder to attain pristine look, purely because of what elements may exist.
The movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Kino Lorber, and is one hour, sixteen minutes in length.
My Rating: 7/10