Episodic look at married life and in-law problems. Adventures include a ride on a crowded trolley with a live turkey; a wild spin in a new auto with the in-laws in tow; and a sequence in which Hubby accidently chloroforms his mother-in-law and is convinced that he has killed her. When she begins sleep-walking, he thinks that she has returned to haunt him.
Harold Lloyd ... Harold
Jobyna Ralston ... Wifey
Josephine Crowell ... Winnifred Ward Stokes
Charles Stevenson ... Charley Stokes
Mickey McBan ... Bobby Stokes
This was just great! Since this wasn't one of the Harold Lloyd silent films that I had heard much about, compared to others, it was a wonderful surprise. I think it's right up there with "The Freshman" and his other hit movies.
Except with the early "turkey" scene on the trolley which I think went on too long, the rest of the gags were hilarious and very entertaining. Of lot of that was due not just to Lloyd but Josephine Crowell, who played the mother-in-law. She reminded of the brutish Anne Ramsey in "Throw Mama Off The Train." Crowell plays the stereotypical mother-in-law: a big, gruff, mean-looking woman who makes life miserable for poor newly-wed Harold. She is joined by a no-good brother-in-law and a mean little kid. The three of them come over to visit Harold and "wifey."
The film really is three long comedy segments: the trolley scene, a ride in an automobile and Lloyd thinking he killed his wife's mom after chloroforming her.
After showing up at the newlyweds, the whole group all goes for a ride in Lloyd's brand new fancy car and by the time the trip's over, the automobile is demolished. When they get back home, Harold, a little peeved by now, chloroforms the mother-in-law and then thinks he overdid it and killed her. All kinds of haunted house-type sight gags occur which help convince him she is dead, and he is going to be arrested and charged with murder.Many of jokes in this "skit" are extremely funny.
This is one solid hour of laughs and entertainment.
Most of his films find Harold Lloyd struggling for success against impossible odds in order to make good and win the girl. HOT WATER is atypical, for here we find that Lloyd has already made good and won the girl--but now he has to put up with his in-laws, and his wife's family is enough to daunt the bravest man: a nasty baby brother, a free-loading older brother, and a battle-ax mother who has "a natural gift for destruction." This short film--which finds Lloyd dismayed when he wins a live turkey at a raffle, the victim of some truly savage back-seat-driving, and then convinced that he has accidentally killed his hateful mother-in-law--abounds with one sight gag after another, and easily equals any of the longer and better known films Lloyd made later in his career.
With his signature straw hat, round glasses, and innocent enthusiasm, Lloyd personifies the go-getter spirit of the 1920s, and he is generally regarded as one of the three great male silent comics; sadly, however, his films have been somewhat neglected over the years and seldom receive the attention showered on the films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. If you've never been exposed to Lloyd beyond his famous SAFETY LAST, you'll find HOT WATER an excellent place to begin--a film sure to make you want to see more and more.
This Harold Lloyd comedy is fun and resourceful, squeezing a surprising amount of material out of a couple of simple ideas. The situations are simple and the plot is nearly non-existent, but the characters are entertaining and there are lots of props and gag ideas that are used creatively, with everything helped along by Lloyd's energy and expert timing.
The story is essentially three different loosely-connected sequences. Harold goes on a shopping trip and has all kinds of difficulty on a streetcar, then he takes his in-laws on a tumultuous ride in his new car, and then he faces some unsettling domestic disturbances. Each sequence has a slightly different feel, and uses Lloyd's character in somewhat different ways, giving him a chance to perform a number of different comedy ideas.
Josephine Crowell as the mother-in-law makes a good antagonist, and Charles Stevenson strikes the right note as the oafish brother-in-law. Jobyna Ralston doesn't get the chance to do a lot of comedy, but she is engaging as always.
It's good comedy, and it builds things up fairly well. There are many details that are used once for their own sake, and that then return in the frenzied climactic sequence, and some of the ideas are pretty clever. It's often deliberately far-fetched, and in a manner that comes off rather well.