Tramp, Tramp, Tramp

1926 Action/Adventure | Romance | Comedy

When baby-faced comedian Harry Langdon left Mack Sennett Studios to make features for First National, he wisely brought along the two Sennett staffers who helped make him a star: gag writer Frank Capra and director Harry Edwards. Langdon's first feature-length comedy at his new studio was Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, which not only ranks as one of Harry's best efforts, but also one of the funniest comedies ever made. Our hero plays a bumbling cobbler's son who enters a cross-country walking race sponsored by shoe manufacturer John Burton (Edwards Davis). This he does partly to save his dad's business, but mainly out of love for Burton's daughter Betty (Joan Crawford), whom Harry knows only from her appearances on the Burton Shoe advertising billboards. As our hero tramp, tramp, tramps along, one mishap after another befalls him. At one point he is arrested and placed on a chain gang, leading to pantomimic tour de force in which the hapless Harry tries his best to make little rocks out of big ones. He also runs afoul of a belligerent herd of sheep, nearly plummeting off a cliff as a result. The climax finds Harry being literally swept off his feet by an outsized cyclone -- a surprisingly convincing special-effects sequence staged entirely within the studio! Miraculously, Harry wins the race and Betty's hand in marriage (According to Frank Capra, leading lady Joan Crawford was so amused by Langdon's antics that she couldn't film her big scene with him without collapsing into laughter; as a result, the scene had to be shot with Crawford's back to the camera). An amusing coda featuring a baby Langdon in his bassinette caps this well-nigh-perfect film.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide