Mister Antonio (October 15, 1929)
Released on October 15, 1929: An Italian florist from New York City vacations in Pennsylvania and gets jailed because he knows a secret about the Mayor that could ruin his career.
Produced by John M. Stahl
Directed by James Flood and Frank Reicher
Written by Booth Tarkington with screenplay by Fanny Hatton and Frederic Hatton
The Actors: Leo Carrillo (Antonio Camaradino), Virginia Valli (June Ramsey), Gareth Hughes (Joe), Frank Reicher (Milton Jorny), Eugenie Besserer (Mrs. Jorny), Franklin Lewis (Earl Jorny), Francis Ford ('Irish' the New York City policeman), Lloyd Ingraham (George Ripple, the Sheriff), Gus Leonard (unknown), Viola Louie (unknown)
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Sunday in Pennsylvania and the Blue Laws
Papa was a preacher in Western Pennsylvania, and while I was growing up in the 1960's, Pennsylvania had what papa always called 'Blue Laws.' Blue laws are laws that forbid working for money or spending money on the Lord's Day . . . Sunday. Stores could not be open, gas stations were closed . . . everything except hospitals and emergency services . . . and churches, were forbidden by law to be open for business. If there was something that you discovered that you needed and it was Sunday . . . you did without until the next day.
In this romantic comedy about the hypocrisy of some folk on Sunday we begin at 4am Sunday morning when Tony, an Italian florist in New York City is leaving for a summer vacation across the state line into Pennsylvania when across the street a drunk is being kicked out of the night club and is about to be arrested. Tony stops the cop from arresting the man, promising to take care of him and get him home safely.
It turns out that Tony recognizes the man as Mayor of the small town in Pennsylvania near the forest where Tony likes to spend his summers. Now, this Mayor is running for a new term, and his main platform is the enforcement of Sunday Blue Laws and the evils of nightclubs . . . yup . . . you got it right . . . the drunk about to be arrested outside a New York City nightclub is the man who will kick young June out of his house because he learns that she was drinking a ginger ale in a local night spot and dancing . . . Heaven forbid!
After being kicked out into the streets by her Godly uncle the Mayor, June meets Tony, and the fun with the town hypocrites is about to begin. Tony is played by Leo Carrillo, from one of the founding Spanish Conquistador families of California, and his father was the first mayor of Santa Monica.
Although Leo Carillo was well educated and mastered several languages, he played many characters that were portrayed as simple immigrants with a sometimes comical accent, like in this part where he declares that his friend Joe will play 'Onward Christmas Soldiers' in front of the Mayor's home. I remember Leo Carrillo as Pancho, the affable side-kick of The Cisco Kid . . . and I am amazed to discover that he was seventy years old when that television show began! Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Frank Reicher listens at the door
Frank Reicher, Eugenei Besserer and Leo Carrilo
Frank Reicher and Leo Carrillo
Frank Reicher and Lloyd Ingraham
Frank Reicher on the nightclub steps
Frank Reicher questions Virginia Valli
Franklin Lewis and Virginia Valli
Gareth Hughes as General Joe
Francis Ford, Gareth Hughes and Leo Carrillo
Leo Carrillo and Frank Reicher
Leo Carrillo and Gareth Hughes
Leo Carrillo and Virginia Valli
Lloyd Ingraham and Frank Reicher
Gareth Hughes aims his cap pistols at Lloyd Ingraham
Virginia Valli and Frank Reicher
Virginia Valli visits Leo Carrillo in jail