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A Man About Town (1923) Online

A Man About Town (1923) Online
Original Title :
A Man About Town
Genre :
Movie / Comedy / Short
Year :
Directror :
George Jeske
Cast :
Stan Laurel,Katherine Grant,James Finlayson
Type :
Time :
Rating :
A Man About Town (1923) Online

A feckless young man who wishes to switch from one streetcar to another is told to follow a pretty young lady-- so he follows her all over town. {locallinks-homepage}
Cast overview:
Stan Laurel Stan Laurel - A Man About Town
Katherine Grant Katherine Grant - The Girl
James Finlayson James Finlayson - Humko, Store Detective
Charles Stevenson Charles Stevenson - Shop Assistant
George Rowe George Rowe - Cross-eyed Barber
Mark Jones Mark Jones - Cross-eyed Barber
Eddie Baker Eddie Baker - Cop

User reviews



This amusing short comedy is no masterpiece, but it's one of the better films Stan Laurel made as a solo, prior to teaming with Oliver Hardy. It took Stan a while to hit his stride, at least in part because he couldn't come up with a consistent, sympathetic screen character. Sometimes (as in Kill or Cure) he is miscast as an aggressive, fast-talking sharpie; at other times (as in Half a Man) he is oddly fey. Here, at least, his character is an agreeably innocent, childlike precursor to the Stan we know, dressed in an outfit which suggests a boy wearing his father's out-sized suit. In keeping with this characterization the entire plot of the film is set in motion by Stan's determination to follow the instructions given him by an authority figure, a streetcar conductor, so that he might switch to the correct train. Because the man told him to 'Follow that young lady' he attempts to do so, but winds up following the wrong lady, doggedly. He's not a trouble-maker, he's just trying to do what the man said.

It's interesting to compare this film to the superficially similar Just Rambling Along, made in 1918 when Stan was at the very dawn of his film career. In the earlier comedy the callow young Stan follows a pretty girl down the street and into a restaurant for no particular reason. They're dallying, and he's trying to get something going, but beyond that his character is aimless, and so is the film. This time Stan has a goal, and the fact that accomplishing it involves tailing a pretty young woman all over town is secondary, and almost irrelevant.

Along the way some of the gags flirt with poor taste, and others may have been over-familiar even in 1923, but still and all this is a pleasant one-reel comedy for buffs that offers some interesting period detail (streetcars, a department store, a barber shop) for the historically inclined. A Man About Town is also boosted by the presence of Jimmy Finlayson, as a detective who becomes quite obsessed with tracking Stan's activities. Seeing these two interact on screen is a treat for fans, though just a warm-up for the great comedies still to come.
Ferri - My name

Ferri - My name

While I am a lover of Laurel and Hardy films, I'll be the first to admit that many of Stan Laurel's films before the teaming were pretty lame. While a few of his films, such as DR. PYCKLE and MUD AND SAND, stand up well over time, many, many more certainly do not. I have seen perhaps as many as 40 or 50 of these films and can thankfully say that A MAN ABOUT TOWN is surprisingly good--and is a film that stacks up well with other silent shorts of the era.

The film begins with Stan on a street car. When he asks how to transfer to another car, the conductor tells him to follow the lady sitting across from him, as she's doing the same. Naturally, Stan loses the lady and begins following the wrong one. This actually happens several times and in the process, an undercover detective (James Finlayson) suspects he's up to no good and follows. This leads to a very funny conclusion.

All in all, funny, well-paced and fortunately pretty timeless. It's definitely worth a look.


One of Stan Laurel's silent short subjects made before Hal Roach teamed him with Mr. Hardy finds the simpleminded and quite literal Stanley told by a streetcar conductor to follow a pretty young woman to get to where he was going. So Stan follows the instructions and follows Katherine Grant all over town.

Laurel's very innocence makes him the only one who could sell this kind of situation and not be thought of as a stalker. Still it's quite a stretch.

Ollie might not be in the cast but their favorite foil James Finlayson is. Grant's first stop is a department store and Stan dutifully follows her in. Finlayson is the store detective and thinks something is up. Then he starts following Stan throughout the city determined to find something wrong. Naturally Laurel innocently gets in all kinds of situations. It's Finlayson who gets the laughs as he keeps making a fool of himself.

The end is quite ironical considering what Finlayson was trying to do to Stan. Finlayson really should have rated star billing here.