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House of Errors (1942) Online HD

House of Errors
House of Errors (1942)
  • Director:
    Bernard B. Ray
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Harry Langdon,Ewart Adamson
  • Cast:
    Harry Langdon,Charley Rogers,Marian Marsh
  • Time:
    1h 5min
  • Year:
Bert and Alf are fired from their jobs as delivery "boys" for a newspaper. They decide to be reporters on their own and set out to get a story on the inventor of a new machine gun. The inventor hates reporters so the boys pose as a valet and a butler and are hired. A reporter from their old newspaper shows up and gains admission by claiming to represent an American Legion paper, while a friend of the family and a phony representative of an arms manufacturer also show up with intentions of stealing the gun. Bert and Alf, suspicious of the pair, steal the gun themselves to protect it. They arrive back, after a night of misadventures at a flophouse, just as the crooks are making off with a dummy gun and the inventor's daughter.
Complete credited cast:
Harry Langdon Harry Langdon - Bert
Charley Rogers Charley Rogers - Alf (as Charles Rogers)
Marian Marsh Marian Marsh - Florence Randall
Ray Walker Ray Walker - Jerry Fitzgerald
Betty Blythe Betty Blythe - Mrs. Martha Randall
John Holland John Holland - Paul Gordon
Guy Kingsford Guy Kingsford - Drake
Roy Butler Roy Butler - Mr. Carr
Gwen Gaze Gwen Gaze - Molly
Monte Collins Monte Collins - Prof. Stark
Vernon Dent Vernon Dent - White
Robert Barron Robert Barron - Samson
Lynn Starr Lynn Starr - Waitress
Richard Kipling Richard Kipling - Hiram Randall
Frank Hagney Frank Hagney - Black

House of Errors (1942)

The earliest documented telecast of this film occurred Monday 5 November 1945 on New York City's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1). It first aired in Cincinnati Sunday 20 June 1948 on WLW-T (Channel 4) , In Baltimore Saturday 26 June 1948 on WBAL (Channel 11), in Detroit Sunday 12 December 1948 on WXYZ (Channel 7), and in Day Tuesday 10 May 1949 on WHIO (Channel 13).

HOUSE OF ERRORS was the second feature film pairing silent (and sound) comedy great Harry Langdon (who also wrote the story) with British comic actor-writer-director Charley Rogers (best known for his work as a writer-director with Laurel and Hardy), playing Bert and Alf. In this one, the boys are the lowest level of employees at a newspaper and have always wanted to be reporters. They happen to overhear a potential story about an inventor who has a new model machine gun (this is a wartime film, after all!), and they pose as servants in order to get into his house. While there are some other wonderful elements in the film (one scene taking place in a flophouse features Monte Collins doing a brilliant routine about a flea circus--one wonders if Langdon, who wrote the story for the film, dragged that routine out of his old vaudeville days!), what makes it worthwhile are Langdon and Rogers. Langdon wrote in any number of scenes that rely on his brilliant physical comedy skills, honed during years of vaudeville work and in his classic silent shorts and features. The scene with the "fish hooks" coming through the window, the scene where he is walking along the molding on the wall of the flophouse, the scene at the movie's start with the car horn--there are any number of hilarious comic set-ups. Rogers is the more aggressive of the duo, and he is the perfect foil for Langdon's lost, confused character. This is a low-budget PRC feature, but director Bernard B. Ray was a master of getting the most out of a little because of his experience running his own studio in the 1930s and directing some classics in the western and action veins, starring the likes of Tom Tyler and Richard Talmadge and Jack Perrin. The lighting in this film is rudimentary at best and the sets ultra-cheap, but who cares? Langdon could perform in front of a brick wall, and he would be brilliant. I'm glad he had the chance to star in films like this one, the earlier DOUBLE TROUBLE with Rogers, DUMMY TROUBLE/MISBEHAVING HUSBANDS with Ralph Byrd, and his continuing series of Columbia comedy shorts during the early 1940s, in the last few years of his career and life. His timing and mannerisms and ability to play off others had not diminished. Langdon fans should NOT miss HOUSE OF ERRORS.
In the silent film days, Harry Langdon was very successful. Perhaps he wasn't as successful as the likes of Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd or Laurel & Hardy...but his films were enjoyable, often sweet and the public loved them. However, he had a problem that sometimes comes with success...he started having lots of folks flatter him and that he could do better elsewhere. Now, considering his director in many of his best early films was Frank Capra, in hindsight we know that he could NOT do better. What followed were years of progressively worse films. The biggest problem with the later films is that they looked as if they were written for anyone and they just happened to stick Langdon in the lead. This was particularly true with his films from Columbia. Many of their shorts were Three Stooges style films (after all, the Stooges were their hottest property in the shorts department)....and slapstick and violence were NOT the sort of stuff that made Langdon so popular in the 20s.

By 1942, Langdon had been with Columbia's shorts department for nearly a decade and he occasionally worked for other studios here and there (such as with Hal Roach Studios in the film "Zenobia"). Of all the different studios he worked for, the worst was clearly PRC...which was one of the worst studios in Hollywood. PRC had a reputation for making movies fast, cheap and, generally, crappy. There were some exceptions...but not enough. "House of Errors" is pretty much what I'd expect from PRC....a comedy that isn't very funny and which had too many plot errors--the effect of rushing a film into production and doing no re-writes on problematic scripts.

The film finds Bert (Langdon) and Alf (Charley Rogers) reporters. The boss wants them to get a scoop on the Professor and his new invention, a better, faster and more deadly machine gun. Considering it was made during the war years, such plots were the norm. However, the Professor doesn't want to talk to reporters, so the pair pretend to be servants and go to work for him. Not surprisingly, soon folks arrive who want to steal the Professor's invention.

I think that you could have substituted any other actor (or perhaps a potato) into Langdon's role and the movie wouldn't have been much different. Additionally, the notion of a super-weapon which has no government agents and guards watching it and protecting the Professor seems ludicrous. Overall, a dull film with hardly a laugh.