Eddie Lyons stars in this silent comedy as a typical 20s go-getter who vies for a pretty girl, but whose father insists she “marry a count not a no-account.” The count, Eddie’s rival for the girl, is played by Gino Corrado, whose comically florid gestures and top hat exhibit the necessary pretentions. This setup allows for some amusing situations.
The opening gag has Eddie running around the palatial grounds of the estate where the girl lives, being chased by her cane-wielding father as well as the family dog. The humor is punctuated by Eddie’s constantly sneezing because he is allergic to the bouquet he is holding in his hand. Eddie climbs a phone pole to get away from the dog, but not before the seat of his pants is bitten away. Eddie is then chased by a cop due to his exposed derriere. The chase is on foot, gradually building from a trot to a full on sprint. Eddie hops into a moving car, but it turns out to belong to the girl’s father. He jumps out, hops into another car, and is reunited with an old war buddy whose life he saved on the battlefield. The war buddy is the count! However the two men do not realize they are after the same girl, when they each reveal to the other “I am in love but I have a rival.” Meanwhile, the girl prefers Eddie and does not realize he and the count know each other.
Much of the film has the two rivals attempting to see the girl, but never running into each other. When the men are together, they commiserate and give each other advice. One funny scene features the count, an expert at firearms, teaching Eddie how to effectively use a gun in a proper duel. A practice occurs and Eddie is impressed with the Count’s ability to shoot small targets with his back turned, holding a pistol over his opposite shoulder. Eddie closes his eyes and fires the gun with someone less successful results.
It all comes to a head when each man decides to elope with the girl. The count sneaks in a window, finds Eddie hugging his girl, and realizes his friend is actually his rival. A foot chase ensues throughout the streets of the town, as the count goes after Eddie. It ends up back at the girl’s home where Eddie subdues the count’s henchman. When the count finally catches up to Eddie and says he was just chasing him to tell him he is a lucky guy. Eddie ends up with the girl and this breezy, pleasant comedy ends.
“Pardon Me” is one of prolific comedian Eddie Lyons’ many solo comedies for Arrow after he split from partner Lee Moran in 1920. The Lyons and Moran comedies were quite popular and Eddie remained so as a solo comic. From 1911 until 1926, Eddie appeared in nearly 500 comedies, producing and directing many as well, including “Pardon Me.” Only a few of these survive, and they reveal Lyons to have a good comic sense and some vision as a director. Sadly, his early death in 1926 at the age of only 39 curtailed his career, and he is mostly forgotten today.