Low-life Harry falls in love with sweet Betty who inspires him to improve himself so he can marry her. He enters a $25,000 cross-country hiking contest. After many adventures he wins, pays off his father Amos's mortgage and marries Betty.
Harry Langdon ... Harry
Joan Crawford ... Betty Burton
Edwards Davis ... John Burton
Tom Murray ... Nick Kargas
Alec B. Francis ... Amos Logan
Brooks Benedict ... Taxi Driver
XVid / MP3
Desperately in need to pay the rent, a naive young fellow begins the long TRAMP, TRAMP, TRAMP of a walking race across the United States for the prize money.
Harry Langdon brings his own brand of minimalist comedy to this charming little silent film. Eschewing most manifestations of slapstick, Harry instead portrayed his famous character as an innocent child-man, a kind of adult baby, who reacts with insouciant naiveté to the perils the wicked world flings at him. Here he must compete with his devious landlord for the prize money, while the race itself confronts him with prison gangs, wild weather & honest-to-goodness cliffhangers. All the while Harry never loses the daffy optimism which continues to propel him along.
A talented supporting cast adds to the film's success: Alec B. Francis as Harry's crippled, impoverished shoemaker father; Tom Murray as the belligerent landlord, who also just happens to be the world's champion race walker; and Edward Davis as the shoe tycoon who sponsors the race. As his lovely daughter, Joan Crawford doesn't have much to do except encourage Langdon in his endeavors, but her few romantic scenes with him manage to be both poignant & ludicrous simultaneously.
Harry's production company burnished the film up nicely, with the cyclone sequence particularly effective. One of the story writers was a young Frank Capra, who would be a big contributor to Harry's short-lived stardom.
Quintessential film of this odd comedian
* When Harry and Joan's "baby" is introduced, we see that he is also played by Harry Langdon. This came about because the real baby that was to be used for the scene wouldn't cooperate, and as a gag Langdon had the cameraman shoot him playing the baby. After it was screened, Langdon liked it so much he left it in.