Fairbanks biographer Jeffrey Vance writes, “Admittedly a minor work, The Nut is frequently dismissed in critical assessments of Fairbanks’s career. This is unfortunate, for it contains some fascinating sequences and reveals much about the actor-producer’s state of mind at the time it was made.” Vance also notes, “The picture is like a chaotic funhouse, filled with magical masquerades, illusions, and gimmicks of great momentary amusement.”
Based upon a summary in a film publication, Charlie (Fairbanks) has a girlfriend Estrell (De La Motte) who has a theory that if rich people would take a number of poor children into their homes each day, the environment would cause the children to grow up properly. Since Estrell does not know any of these rich people, Charlie offers to arrange a meeting. However, Charlie thinks impostors will do as well as the real rich people, so first he hires some men who turn out to be burglars and gamblers. Then he tries using dummies, but Estell is not fooled and becomes indignant. A wealthy man working as a reporter goes to investigate a report of a man dragging a body which turns out to be Charlie moving a dummy, allowing Charlie to finally meet someone rich. Estell is satisfied and agrees to marry him.
Douglas Fairbanks as Charlie Jackson
Marguerite De La Motte as Estrell Wynn
William Lowery as Philip Feeney
Gerald Pring as Gentleman George
Morris Hughes as Pernelius Vanderbrook Jr
Barbara La Marr as Claudine Dupree
Sidney De Gray (credited as Sydney dé Grey)
Frank Campeau, Jeanne Carpenter, Charles Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Charles Stevens appear uncredited.
Fairbanks biographer Jeffrey Vance disputes the claims of many film historians that Charlie Chaplin appears in the film. “It is clearly as Chaplin imitator, not Chaplin himself, who appears briefly in the party sequence wearing the Tramp costume.
By Theodore Reed (YouTube) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons