starring Sydney Chaplin
January 1927

Not since the days of brother Charlie's "Shoulder Arms" has a comedy carried such high explosive laughter as Syd Chaplin's burlesque, "The Better 'Ole." Truly the celluloid version of Bruce Bairnsfather's comic character Old Bill, is the happy hit of the season. It presents a compact array of funny gags -- many of which are culled from the play -- and others which have sprung from the fertile minds of Chaplin and Chuck Reisner, the director.

Syd fairly makes the picture talk -- what with his antics in and out of the trenches. An exceptional series of original stunts in a barnyard are productive of laughs straight from the diaphragm. From the moment that Charlie's elder brother goes on fatigue duty, there isn't a single pause in the continuity of gags. They are executed with snap and dash and spontaneous humor. If there is any criticism to make, we would direct it to an occasional stressing of the scenes. It could be shorter and be just as funny. Still, the spectator who fails to chuckle over the horse play should be locked up as dangerous to his community.

"The Better 'Ole" is one of the best burlesques ever screened. It demonstates that Syd is a real character comedian. He is truly Bairnsfather's Old Bill to the life. The droll fellow once said, "If you knows of a beter 'ole, go to it." We suggest if you know of a better comedy, go to it. That's all we have to say.

starring Sydney Chaplin
December, 1926

Brother Charlie used to make pictures like this before he got all tangled up in Art. However, we come, not to bury Charlie, but to praise Syd. In this film, Syd picks up the characters of the popular Bairnsfather cartoons, weaves new adventures around Bill and Alf and makes a picture which is to comedy what "The Big Parade" is to drama.
There is one gag that places Syd right up with the Immortals. Bill andAlf, playing front and hind legs of a horse, respectively, are left in a French town that is captured by the Germans. The gorgeous adventures of that horse will always be stored in our mind as one of our Beautiful Memories of the Eighth Art. Chuck Reisner, the director, must be credited with an assist. Take the children or they will run away and go by themselves.

Starring Sydney Chaplin
January, 1927

If you think Sydney Chaplin was at his best as a female impersonator in "Charley's Aunt" and it s successors, by all means see him in "The Better 'Ole" and get the shock of your life. Also, I may add, the laugh of your life. For he comes across with such glorious humor in this picturization of the war comedy that one is inclined to dare all other comedians to equal him. Certainly Syd surpasses his own record, and one trembles for fear his later pictures may not live up to his present one. Incidentally, this is one of the rare instances when a film is better than the play from which it was taken.

Ask me for the plot of "The Better 'Ole" and you find me dumb. The story is slight indeed, yet it is there; and so packed with incident that it reflects great credit upon the skill of everyone concerned in it. Syd is Private William Busby who has served thirty years in the British army, and is known as Old Bill, from which you will gather that he does not take the war too seriously. Accidentally, he frustrates a spy within his own regiment and ultimately checks the advance of the Germans. Offered by his general anything in the world, Old Bill modestly requests a sergeantry, and remarks to his buddy, Alf, "Bli' me, this ain't a bad war after all."

There is neither love nor heroines in "The Better 'Ole." Instead we have humanness and wholesome laughter. Don't pass this up; it's great.

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