The Cat’s Paw is a big departure for Harold Lloyd in that it is the most adult comedy yet attempted by him.
The story is simply a play on the corrupt politics theme. Lloyd, as a missionary’s son, visiting his home town in the US after 20 years in China, is picked for a prize sap by the burg’s political czars and nominated for mayor as the 1,000-to-1 shot opponent for their own man. But he surprises everybody, including himself, by winning, and the worm keeps on turning until having cleaned up the city 100%.
There are some good, substantial laughs along the way, but the roars are few and far between. Script [from a magazine story by Clarence Buddington Kelland] nurses itself for quite a long stretch to build up to the climax.
There’s a girl, too, and no more fortunate choice for the part of this smart-cracking cigar counter femme could have been made. Una Merkel plays it expertly. A gem character performance by George Barbier and some polished gangster and gun moll stuff, respectively, from Alan Dinehart and Grace Brinkley, give Lloyd a lot of help in the support line.