Hasty Elopement
Director: Charles M. Seay

Director: Will Louis

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The Adventure of the Hasty Elopement (1914) describes itself in a lengthy subtitle as "A story of Octavius, Amateur Detective, by Frederick Arnold Kummer," based on a story from the Pictorial Review, October 1914."

Hasty ElopementFrederic(k) Arnold Kummer, Jr., was a member in high standing in the development of the Detective Short Story, the short form having been the predominant form from Poe to after World War II.

Many of his short tales were adapted as silent films of the 'teens & 'twenties, but his heyday had passed by the time of the talkies, despite that he continued to write for detective pulps & sold steadily in hardcover collections.

The influence of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes was profound in Kummer's day, even to adapting the phrase "The Adventure of the" preface for each story in a collection.

The quarter-hour Adventure of the Hasty Elopement is actually a spoof of the detective genre, in that amateur sleuth Octavius (Barry O'Moore, who played Octavius in a handful of these short films) may think himself another Sherlock, but seems to be shy a few deductions.

He buys an automobile, quite a pleasant vehicle, & the film should be classified "automobile adventure genre" which was a real film & book genre that lost its cache when autos had been around long enough to take for granted.

Now Octavius has to worry about such things as the auto thieves, such as the newspaper reports as having stole na great many cars lately. "I shall investigate this!" he announces to his butler (Julian Reed), having no Watson at hand.

In town a young woman named Ruth (Viola Dana) boldly imposes on him for a ride to the next village, the while looking back over her shoulder as though fleeing someone.

Ruth surreptitiously tosses her umbrella out of the car & when Octavius trustingly pulls over to run back & get it, she steals the vehicle.

He in turn spots an idle vehicle & just takes it to pursue the thief. A scene of needing to get gas seems to have been inserted wholly as a Mobil Oil product placement ad!

A young man (Yale Benner) happens to be waiting at the church for his bride, Ruth, who it turns out is fleeing her mom & dad who don't want her eloping. How that justifies her ruse to steal a car from a man who was taking her right where she wanted to go is unexplained & thus the whole story falls to bits, & the initial impression that she was a practiced car thief is never fully dispelled.

The parents are loaned a car & a multiple car-chase develops, with even a motorcycle participating in the chase. It'd be awfully dull except these old cars are so darned cool it's okay to just look at those, & there's something to be said for watching a such a vintage Indian motorcycle in action too.

Octavius invades the elopment to make a citizens arrest of Ruth for stealing his car, of which she is most certainly guilty. The motor cycle cop shows up to arrest Octavius for speeding, of which he is most certainly guilty, besides having stolen his chase vehicle. Then the parents arrive to add to the burgeoning crowd hoping to stop the marriage.

In this comic tale of the man deluded that he's a detective, he has a recurring physical mannerism of pointing at his own nose, & sometimes looks like he's picking it. Even his butler thinks he's nuts, & when he gave the arresting policeman his card claiming to be a detective, the cop is seriously amused & all the more eager to arrest him.

It's all going to work out fine in that the parents cave in & let the couple wed, Octavius forgives the totally unnecessary theft of his car, while the car Octavius stole turns out to be a car used in multiple car thefts & Octavius is after all on the path of the car thief. None of which makes a lick of sense.

Jack (Raymond McKee) agrees to take his wife Beatrice (Jean Dumar) to the theater that night. But when he gets to his law office, his partner (Guido Colluci) has two tickets to the prize fights. She he calls up his wife & makes up a whopper.

Black EyesSo begins the domestic comedy Black Eyes (1915). Beatrice stewing at home receives a last-minute invitation to be the fourth hand of bridge at her friend Edith's, so off she goes. When Jack gets home it's late but Beatrice is not home.

She arrives ten minutes later, & he has the audacity to be angry she stayed out until eleven. I'd been thinking he only deserved to have two of his toes chopped off, but what a dope, off with all his toes!

But soon it's all blamed on the bad influence of Jack's law partner & the young married couple make up & swear never to be angry at one another again.

Despite the promise, in no time at all, on their first anniversary in fact, Jack's telling whoppers in order to attend a party with his business partner, at which gathering he enjoys loose women.

He even gets in a fight over one of the ladies-of-the-night hence the film's title Black Eyes. He & the other pugilist head off to the eye clinic to see Professor Scarab (Julian Reed) & his assistant (T. Tamamoto, American cinema's first Japanese film star).

Tamamoto keeps the two men from going at each other a second time, & Prof. Scarab attempts to heal both men's black eyes. The method involves not only medicine but hypnosis as well, a medical process that never actually existed, so this is at least marginally science fiction.

Coincidentally Beatrice got in a fight while playing bridge so she has a black eye too. The story seems to treat as exactly parallel, a wife playing bridge away from home & a husband being with other women.

At any rate, she too sets out for Prof. Scarab's house for the insta-cure of black eyes, each having the hope that the black eye cure will keep their spouse from ever knowing of their behaviors.

While waiting in the clinic outer room, Beatrice reads in the paper that the noon train from Trenton had gone off the rails & nearly all passengers were killed. Jack's excuse for not being with her on their anniversary was a business meeting in Trenton & he promised to be back on that very train. Oh the humor of it!

When Beatrice sees him in the clinic, she thinks him a ghost & screams, "Forgive me my poor departed husband! I'll never play bridge again!"

When she realizes what's really been going on, she seethes. The professor & his Japanese assistant begin doing their voodoo hypnosis on the young couple forcing them to make up & live happily ever after, or at least until the next time Jack goes to a whorehouse.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

[ Film Home ] - [ Film Reviews Index ]
[ Where to Send DVDs for Review ] - [ Paghat's Giftshop ]