Pampered heiress Barbara Manning (Bebe Daniels) has spent her entire life cooped up indoors due to the dictates of her father’s will—Babs’ old man appears to have been a germophobe, and insisted his only daughter be brought up in the same fashion by her Uncle Edgar (George Irving) until she’s twenty-one. With the arrival of the big two-one, her Uncle Wilburforce (Melbourne MacDowell) from Texas—Texas, that is—shows up to squirrel her away to a ranch on the Lone Star State. But Barbara is convinced she’s got a bad ticker (angina pectoris), and fears that Wilburforce’s prescribed regimen of excitement, adventure…and romance might be the death of her.
|William Powell, Bebe Daniels|
|Daniels in She's a Sheik (1927)|
I’m not as familiar with Bebe’s oeuvre as I should be, save her work alongside Harold Lloyd in his early one- and two-reel comedies and her later appearances with husband Ben Lyon on the BBC’s long-running radio/TV hit Life with the Lyons. But every new Daniels feature I check off is unquestionably a treat, and Feel My Pulse is my favorite vehicle yet. Granted, there’s a little bit of contrivance involved in the plot (have you ever met anyone sequestered from society—father’s will or no?) but then again it is a comedy (not a documentary), and Bebe demonstrates that she was amazingly adept at physical slapstick with funny sequences involving her leaping out of Arlen’s car to retrieve her valued valise of medications (Arlen’s character refuses to believe she’s an invalid after witnessing her “sprinting exhibition”) and bobbing up and down like a yoyo out of one of the sanitarium windows.