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Review: West of Hot Dog (1924)

Directed by: , | 30 minutes | short , , | Actors: , ,

Broncho Billy Anderson. A name that sounds like a clock, but that will not mean much to many people in 2013. The best man was a busy guy in Hollywood for the first few decades of the twentieth century. Not only did he star in the first full-length feature “The Great Train Robbery” (1903), he also wrote, directed and founded his own studio. His name is closely linked to the genre of the western, you could say he was the first gunfighter of the silver screen. And he worked with Stan Laurel, with whom he made a series of parodies of major Hollywood productions. When Anderson clashed with the studio (Metro) and left, Laurel continued to make the films. One such parody of the cowboy film is “West of Hot Dog” from 1924, based on the marginal “West of the Pecos” (1922). Why a flopped film without major stars was chosen for a spoof is a . The parody is just as trivial as the source material.

In “West of Hot Dog,” Stan plays a brand new cowboy on his way to the town of Hot Dog to collect an inheritance when he is robbed. One of the thieves, Bad Mike, also appears to be present to the notary, hoping to also be able to earn some money from Stan’s deceased uncle. The will says that Stan gets everything. So also “The Last Chance Saloon”, the bar his uncle ran. However, should Stan die, Bad Mike and his friend are allowed to share the saloon together. It immediately gets too hot under Stan’s feet and he flees the town. In his haste and clumsiness, he jumps on Big Mike’s horse, who leads him straight to his house. After a quick robbery of the saloon, when Mike and his gang come home and spot Stan, the bullets will soon fly around your head. Fortunately, the local sheriff is not far away …

Right from the first scene it is clear that Stan here is a fish out of the water as a cowboy. He is not a hero, let alone a sniper. The lady he initially has by his side soon turns her back on him when it turns out that he is really just a wimp. He is of course no match for the two ruthless bullies who are after him. A nice moment in the film (with a very nice film trick for 1924) is, for example, the scene in which the two bad boys try to deal with poor Stan by throwing him out the window at the notary. But Stan turns out to have an angel on his shoulder. Of course the story is as thin as a pancake and the jokes are physical and corny (slapstick), but thanks to Stan’s delicious poker face and great talent it is still good to watch. Not as good as the work he did with , but one of his better solo works.

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