The Cradle Snatchers ★★★½

I could make a case for this is probably the other Silent Hawks major work, but the missing footage sadly keeps this somewhat grounded from such grandeur claims. What is left is quite thoroughly engaging, another play on gender (and some generationalism as well), but with a much more equal weight than Fig Leaves presents, as well as a stronger sense of pace and rhythm to the shots and edits that reflects where Hawks’s talky screwballs were going. The opening gags, including the cross dressing stuff, feel surprisingly modern, and are also thankfully driven by the characterization (boldly played twice: first for the over flirtatious man, and secondly for the ignorant male). Things really get going however when we cut to the older men and their angry wives, who don’t believe their wives can have fun anymore, so they sneak out (where they go is left out, but when they return home, they’re wearing kilts, meaning there must’ve been an amusing reveal in their somewhere). But the fun gets going when one of the men impersonates a suave Spanish guy, the inattentive guy suddenly thinks one of the wives “wants it,” and all sorts of chaos ensues. Ends with one of my favorite slowly becoming trademark Hawks shots (seen it in 2 silent and 2 sounds), where a major reveal happens through a POV of someone up looking down at someone. Screwball-y in all the right ways.