The Mystery of the Leaping Fish

This legendary comedy short is crude and ramshackle but lives up to its reputation for unorthodox content. Fairbanks, with his air of commotion and excitability, often seemed to be under the influence of something or other - a thought which was presumably the genesis of this picture. He plays private eye Coke Ennyday, who is festooned with hypodermics, keeps a bowl of cocaine on his desk as big as Pacino's in Scarface, and whose preferred tipple is a compound of laudanum and prussic acid. Humour, 1916. It's Coke vs a gang of opium smugglers who bring the stuff ashore in rubber fish inflated by a teenage Bessie Love. Billed as 'Inane, the little fish blower', she parodies the cliché of the helpless waif with great exuberance.

Release details

Duration: 26 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Emerson
Screenwriter: Anita Loos, Tod Browning
Cast: Douglas Fairbanks
Bessie Love
Allan D Sears
Alma Reubens
Benny Zeidman
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