The Nervous Wreck (1926) Poster

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7/10
Lovesick
boblipton24 January 2014
Harrison Ford -- the first one -- is that most annoying of comic heroes, the hypochondriac. We know that by the end of the movie, he will be cured for the sake of the ingénue, like Harold Lloyd in WHY WORRY, Eddie Cantor in WHOOPEE! or Danny Kaye in UP IN ARMS. In this case it's Phyllis Haver.

Producer Al Christie made several forays into comedy features about this time and they are pretty good. He used proved stage properties, skillful comedy actors and filled out the gag construction with director Scott Sidney. He would lose Ford and Haver to Demille within a year, but there would continue to be other competent comics to fill his movies -- at least until the Depression put an end to the independent comedy producers by the middle of the following decade.

That, however, would not be for several years. For the moment, this comedy is supplied with some good actors. While Ford is clearly the lead, there are plenty of comedy set-pieces for everyone and a plot line that grows increasingly frenetic as it approaches the end. It's clear to see why other producers poached Christie's stars after looking at this superior comedy movie.
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7/10
starring Harrison Ford ... no, not THAT one.
F Gwynplaine MacIntyre16 April 2003
Poor Harrison Ford ... the FIRST one, I mean! In silent-film days, Harrison Ford had a fine career as a leading man and light comedian. His good looks and talent brought him to the brink of front-rank stardom, but his career didn't survive the transition to talkies. By the time another actor named Harrison Ford came along (no relation), the original had sunk into such total obscurity that he is now remembered at all only due to the coincidence of his name. In fact, the modern-day Harrison Ford (the famous one) had never heard of the original Harrison Ford until (early in his own movie career, before 'American Graffiti') he was trudging along Hollywood's Walk of Stars and he saw his own name set into the pavement!

'The Nervous Wreck' is a good showcase for the talents of Harrison Ford ... the first one. This film is based on a hit comedy play which was later remade as starring vehicles for Eddie Cantor ('Whoopee!') and Danny Kaye ('Up in Arms'). He plays a hypochondriac who heads off into the open countryside for the sake of his health, not realising that what's really wrong with him is his mental state. Gorgeous blonde Phyllis Haver nursemaids him. Out in the open countryside, he runs afoul of crooks and crackpots. Mack Swain is very funny here as a local blowhard. There are several fine performances in this movie, but Swain upstages everyone and steals the film.

'The Nervous Wreck' is quite funny, although I prefer Eddie Cantor's version. Harrison Ford (THIS bloke, not the other guy) wasn't one of the great silent-film actors, but he deserves to be better known. It's unfortunate that he's doomed to the purgatory reserved for second-rung celebrities who happen to have the same names as first-rung celebrities ... such as Winston Churchill (the American novelist), George Segal (the sculptor) and Engelbert Humperdinck (the 19th-century German composer). And don't let's forget Robert DeNiro, the painter whose namesake son became a movie actor. I'll rate 'The Nervous Wreck' 7 points out of 10.
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