Welcome Danger

Welcome Danger

Film poster
Directed by Clyde Bruckman
Malcolm St. Clair (uncredited)
Written by Paul Girard Smith
Felix Adler
Lex Neal
Clyde Bruckman
Starring Harold Lloyd
Barbara Kent
Cinematography Henry O. Kohler
Walter Lundin
Edited by Bernard W. Burton
Carl Himm
Harold Lloyd Corporation
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
October 12, 1929 (1929-10-12)
Running time
115 minutes (sound version)
10,796 feet (silent version)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $979,828[1]
Box office $3,000,000[2]

Welcome Danger is a 1929 American Pre-Code comedy film directed by Clyde Bruckman and starring Harold Lloyd in his first talkie. A sound version and silent version were filmed. Ted Wilde began work on the silent version, but became ill and was replaced by Bruckman.[3]


Harold Bledsoe, a botany enthusiast, is traveling by rail to San Francisco. The captain of police of that town, Captain Walton, has sent for him, to see if he can help them to investigate a crime wave in the Chinatown district; he is the son of the former more successful police captain Jim Bledsoe, and they hope to find him a ‘chip off the old block’.

Also traveling to San Francisco, but by car, are Billie Lee and her brother Buddy, who has badly injured his knee, and needs reconstruction from an acclaimed surgeon there, Dr Gao.

On the train, Harold is found to be of an extremely officious turn; we see him patrolling the carriages, setting things to rights, interfering in chess games etc.. Stopping at a town, Harold takes his picture at a machine, but is astonished to find the face of a woman superimposed next his own - in fact, Billie had just taken her own photograph, and the film had failed to develop, thus leaving both images upon it. When the train later experiences a minor engine issue, the passengers temporarily disembark, but just before it starts again Lloyd spots an unusual flower in a tree across a ditch, and is so intrigued that he goes across to fetch it. Unable to reach the branch, he gets up upon the back of a cow, only to have it run away with him just as the train chugs off. It throws him to the ground beside a car, with Billie and Buddy in it. He does not recognise Billie – she has had a problem with her car and is dressed in boy’s clothes, to get underneath and investigate the engine. Harold stops to help, but he makes her work hard and continually insults her. They take the car engine apart initially, but cannot find anything the matter with it, until a car passes, and suggests they check their gas, which turns out to be empty. The other motorist lends them some, but unfortunately they leave their carburettor on its running board, and are in a worse position than before. Now they have to spend the night there, and set up a tent, but Harold still makes Billie slave everywhere, while he lazes, contemplating the beauty of the fair unknown in his photograph. This so flatters Billie that she puts up with his treatment for several hours, until, exhausted, she changes her clothes in the tent, and frightens Harold half out of his wits by appearing in a dress. He runs away, but she catches him, and calms his extreme embarrassment at his prior treatment of her (he has even kicked her once). She asks if he still thinks her eyes are beautiful, seeing them out of the photograph; he says he does. In the morning, they harness the original cow to the car, and it pulls them to a station. Harold leaves her to catch his train, and they go separately to San Francisco.

When Harold arrives, he goes straight to the police station, where he meets Captain Walton, who introduces him to the art of fingerprint taking. This intrigues Harold, who soon turns the whole station upside down with his enthusiasm for the black powder used to take the imprints – and he makes a complete collection of prints from everyone in the office, including the daunting Mr Thorne, who has been pushing the police to crack down on the city’s crime. Dr Gao, the Chinese doctor, is also anxious for the suppression of his countrymen’s lawlessness. He succeeds in so irritating everyone in the office with his antics, that to get rid of him, they set him on a wrong scent, as they think, by giving him one of Thorne’s fingerprints as being that of the Dragon, the dark and mysterious master of the Chinese underworld.

Following up this clue, Harold proceeds into Chinatown, where he meets a policeman, Clancy, who accompanies him. Visiting a flower shop, he sees a rare Chinese flower that he wants to purchase, but the owners will not sell it, and in the end he leaves the money and takes it by force. He gives it to Billie. Dr Gao, who has been attending to Buddy, accidentally smashes the flower pot on his way out – only to find that it contains an opium package. Telling Harold to say nothing about it, the doctor goes himself to the flower shop, where he is seized by the Chinese.

After he goes, Harold is on the point of making an offer of marriage to Billie, when they hear on the radio that Dr Gao has been kidnapped. Fearing that his loss would occasion great sorrow to Billie, as it would deprive Buddy of any hope of recovery, Harold determines to venture into Chinatown that very night to rescue the doctor.

Rendezvousing with Clancy, Harold and he go alone to the flower shop. Aware of their presence, the Chinese proprietors have set up a series of bogus spooks to frighten them from the premises, but, although terrified, they remain. Clancy briefly leaves to send for the police, before returning. Eventually the Chinese give up the game, and come out of the darkness to fight. Just as the mêlée becomes serious for Harold and Clancy, alone against a dozen at least, they come upon the dragon himself, in the act of ritually murdering Dr Gao. Harold has managed to avert the tragedy (with the timely use of an explosive he lays hands upon), when the police burst in and arrest them all.

Billie has come to the station, anxious for Harold’s safety, when he is brought in and recognised – he and Clancy had previously dressed in the Chinese’s’ clothes to help them ambush their antagonists in the struggle. Told about the trick that was played on him relative to the ‘Dragon’s’ fingerprint, Harold is leaving utterly mortified until he notices that in his last struggle, the real Dragon had left his print on his forehead – and it perfectly matches that of Thorne.

He is trying to explain the significance of this find to his colleagues, who only ridicule him, when Thorne appears, and Harold instantly denounces him. As an influential public figure, Thorne is above suspicion, and Harold's superiors are forced to apologise for his behaviour, and try to arrest him. He gets away from them, and follows Thorn to his house, where he eventually extracts a confession from him, using one of his own instruments of torture, wherewith his study is garnished. The denizens of the law break in, only to find Thorne incriminated by the most unanswerable evidence - Harold has unearthed Dr Gao, gagged and bound, from the dungeon in Thorne's closet. Thorne is arrested, and Harold and Billie become engaged.[4]


Preservation status

Both the silent and sound versions have been restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

See also


  1. Vance, Jeffrey and Suzanne Lloyd. "Harold Lloyd: Master Comedian" New York: Harry N Abrams. p 165
  2. Vance, Jeffrey and Suzanne Lloyd. "Harold Lloyd: Master Comedian" New York: Harry N Abrams. p 165
  3. Welcome Danger SilentEra.com; accessed August 7, 2015.
  4. Welcome Danger review by Clyde Bruckman (1927)
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/10/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.