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Professor Beware

(1938 b 93')

En: 5 Ed: 4

In this wild comedy an Egyptologist fears an old love story will affect him and is pursued across the country by police and the woman he marries.

3,000 years after an Egyptian woman screams on a coffin, in Los Angeles Professor Dean Lambert (Harold Lloyd) is found in a sarcophagus and tells of the ancient couple. He helps Jane Van Buren (Phyllis Welch) with her car in which Snoop Donlan (William Frawley) is lacking clothes. Jane has Lambert put his clothes on drunk Donlan, but they are backwards. Lambert is arrested for not having clothes and is fired. He is invited on an expedition to Egypt from New York. Lambert gets in a trailer going to Niagara Falls. Jane follows in his car and stops the couple. Lambert hid in the bathtub and leaves the trailer. He is wanted by police and flees with Jane. She wants him to go back and clear himself, but he insists on going to New York. At night in the desert he tells her the parallel Egyptian story. In the morning she finds him gone and a note that death is ahead.

Lambert walks, is robbed, meets robbed Judge Marshall (Raymond Walburn), and jumps in a boxcar that is filled with cattle. Lambert, Marshall, and Jerry (Lionel Stander) on top of the train avoid a tunnel. Jerry steals a chicken, and Sheriff Henry Sweatt (Spencer Charters) gives them a ride and arrests Lambert. Jane is called and is stopped by motorcycle cops (Guinn Williams and Ward Bond) for speeding; but she takes off and gets Lambert released. The two cops chase them, and their car hides in a tent. Lambert and Jane leave the car and embrace; she suggests marriage, but he fears the Egyptian story. She gets angry, and they run from hunters to a boxcar. Their car is refrigerated. They are taken to court in New Jersey, and Marshall defends them by saying they will marry.

Her father J. J. Van Buren (Thurston Hall) is informed. Lambert fears death but weds her. She kisses him but is taken away. Van Buren sends men to offer Lambert money, but he flees them in a taxi. Jane gets to the Osiris Club before Lambert and gets Dr. Ellerson to provide a tablet for her message. Ellerson tells Lambert that a tablet says the ancient Egyptian was rescued. Lambert no longer fears death and drives recklessly to the pier to catch Jane. Lambert tells Van Buren that he came for Jane but is thrown into the sea three times. Lambert makes men angry and runs. Amid fighting he looks for Jane. In the final scene Lambert and Jane live to be old.

This farce plays on the fear that the professor is repeating a previous life, but their love for each other helps them transcend the past.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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