A 'Dippy Doo Dad' comedy with an all-animal cast. See more »
Simians of the North
The Dippy-Doo-Dad Comedies were evidently the brainchild of cinematographer Len Powers who directed all thirteen 1923-1924. Yes, animals in films are common but films entirely acted by animals are relatively uncommon and very difficult to do well for obvious reasons. These are frankly rather feeble attempts. By way of comparison the fine but eccentric French Alfred Machin took three years to make Moi aussi, J'accuse, a complex and surreal full-length feature chiefly starring animals (there are some human characters) which came out in 1923 but alas only fragments now survive of the film.
This Dippy-Doo-Dad is a western parody (as was the earlier Go West about a delinquent adolescent monkey who does - or perhaps doesn't - do just that) but this time a Canadian Western. The Nell Shipman films enjoyed a vogue between 1919 and 1924; Lon Chaney had made Nomads of the North in 1920 and Keaton had produced his parody The Frozen North in 1922. . The main characters (pictured in the credits but not named) - Marie.the mountain girl, her outlaw brother Pete and Dan the mountie are played by monkeys (obviously the easiest animals to get a performance out of). Marie is in love with Dan but, while they canoodle, the brother commits the dastardly crime of robbing his sister's money-box. He then heads for the saloon where we find Pete's girl, Sadie, the "Florodora girl" (there had been a 1920 New York revival of that Edwardian musical), also a monkey.although the saloon customers are a variety of animals (ducks, a cock, a rabbit). One of the ducks winks at Sadie and Pete goes beserk, shoots the duck (water pistols only) and swings from the chandalier. Since the duck has "quacked hi last quack", Pete is now the man that Dan is out to get and, swinging into the saddle of his goat, he goes off in pursuit. This of course places Marie and Dan in the familiar dilemma.....
It is a much better parody than Go West and the best of the three in the series that I have seen. All the standard tropes of the genre are there and there are one or two good lines ("Hide in the attic. He'll never think to look there. He's only a policeman") and watch out for the topical reference to Prohibition.
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