Monday, May 14, 2007

Jitters the Butler

Released December 20th, 1932, Jitters the Butler is another wonderful Mark Sandrich-directed Clark and McCullough weirdfest. Again, we have Jimmy Finlayson in there doing his thang ("DOOOO'H!!!"), but this time around it's Robert Grieg who acts as Bobby and Paul's foil. Starting with his role as Hives in Animal Crackers (1930), Robert Grieg made a comfortable Hollywood career for himself playing butlers, valets, and manservants. I doubt he ever had another role quite this... unusual. Aside from being just generally strange, Jitters enjoys, and I mean really enjoys, being kicked in the ass.. hard.. and repeatedly. And he isn't the only one! Oh, those pre-Code comedies! Despite Joe Adamson's characterization of Grieg as "an actor who confuses playing a part with reciting dialogue", his deadpan strangeness is extremely funny here. Other nice bits include Bobby and Paul converting their streetcleaning uniforms into panama suits, and, my favorite, simply sitting on a couch, tossing firecrackers into a hat, and erupting with genuinely unrestrained glee with each explosion.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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Blogger Andrew said...

Thanks for sharing this. I've been a fan of Robert Greig's work for Preston Sturges, but this is about as far from the moralizing valet in "Sullivan's Travels" as you can get. "Nobody's looking, would you care to have another kick, sir?" Utterly bizarre. Finn's no slouch either, of course.

9:48 PM  

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