Fluttering Hearts

Review by
Robert Wilfred Franson

Director: James Parrott
Titles writer: H. M. Walker


  • Charley ChaseCharley
  • William Burress — Father
  • Kay Deslys — Big Bill's girlfriend
  • Oliver Hardy — Big Bill
  • Eugene Pallette — motorcycle cop
  • Martha Sleeper — Daughter

Hal Roach: 1927
black & white; silent; 23 minutes

April 2009


Fluttering Hearts is a fine example of silent-movie comedy, with some especially good passages. The plot starts from the standard idea of a well-to-do father (William Burress) who doesn't want his daughter (Martha Sleeper) to marry a lounge lizard type of suitor.

In the first major sequence, the daughter races off in her convertible to a sale, pursued by a motorcycle policeman (Eugene Pallette), joined shortly by Charley (Charley Chase). When rich Charley sees the daughter and falls for her, he disguises himself as a chauffeur to justify his being around her. Eugene Pallette's fine comic persona sets the tone here, the department-store shoppers' free-for-all nicely capping the street chase.

The second major sequence takes place in a cellar speakeasy, impelled by a bit of blackmail by Big Bill (Oliver Hardy) and his girlfriend (Kay Deslys). Charley Chase volunteers to resolve this, brave and decidedly creative.

What is not to be missed in the film is Charley's now re-disguising himself as a drunken man-about-town with an even drunker girlfriend, really a dressmaker's dummy he's acquired next door. Charley animates her as a full-sized puppet, both as a flirt with Oliver Hardy and a dancing partner for himself (she's a pliant follower on the dance floor, if I may say so, although no conversationalist): an early fembot without circuitry.

Events that go right turn abruptly to small disasters here, but what is wrong may be turned right after all. There is a lot of good humor blended with the hijinks in Fluttering Hearts; it's well worth watching.


© 2009 Robert Wilfred Franson

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