Long Pants ★★★

Shy youngster Harry Langdon longs for romance, but is too juvenile to pursue a woman. His parents’ birthday gift of a pair of grown-up trousers catapults him into adulthood. He gets his chance to pursue a desirable woman when the car of a beautiful, but criminal, woman (Alma Bennett) is briefly disabled before his door. He shows off for the woman and, after she playfully kisses him, decides that she loves him. Harry’s parents press him to marry his childhood sweetheart (Priscilla Bonner), but he resists, going so far as trying to murder her before the wedding. Learning that Bennett is in jail, Harry leaves home to save her, deserting his parents and his sweetheart. Harry finds Bennett and attempts to take her to safety, but his efforts are in vain, and he finally learns the truth about her low character. A sadder and wiser man, Harry returns home.

The contentious relationship between Langdon and director Frank Capra during the making of this film is reflected in its peculiar plot, uneven continuity, and general lack of humorous moments. A particularly unsettling sequence has Harry attempting to shoot and kill his sweetheart so that he will be free to marry Bennett. He does not succeed and finally gives up, but not before multiple, not very funny, attempts to pull the trigger. That the poor naive girl wants to marry the murderous simpleton is not amusing, it’s just sad.