FEED ’EM AND WEEP. MGM/Hal Roach Studios, 1928. Max Davidson, Anita Garvin, Marion Byron, Edgar Kennedy, Charlie Hall, Frank Alexander. Director: Fred L. Guiol, with supervision by Leo McCarey. Running time: 20 minutes. Shown at Cinefest 28, Syracuse NY, March 2008.


   I don’t know if the Cinefest programmers were enjoying a little in-joke by scheduling this Max Davidson short after Showgirl in Hollywood with a minor role by Spec O’Donnell [reviewed here], but whether they were or not, it was still a treat to see this rare Davidson film, even if it was largely a showcase for the female comedy team of Anita Garvin and Marion Byron.

   Max, the owner of a small eatery that serves as a restaurant and rest stop to railroad passengers, hires Garvin and Byron as waitresses just as a trainload of passengers pours into the restaurant for a quick meal. Chaos quickly ensues, with the two women probably the worse waitresses in film history.

   The film has a few decent moments, but the same gags are recycled with increasingly less effect, and the result is a lame comedy in which poor Max is forced to play second fiddle to two actresses of modest talent.

Editorial Comment:   According to Wikipedia, five foot Marion Byron was teamed with six foot Anita Garvin for a brief (three film) series as a “female Laurel & Hardy” in 1928–1929. For a brief clip of the two of them in action together, check out this YouTube video (from A Pair of Tights). [The link should now be working.]