Harold Van Pelham (Harold Lloyd) is a young, wealthy American businessman who obsesses constantly about his health, believing he is deathly sick while in reality he is perfectly fine. Determined to improve his physical condition with an extended rest in a “tropical” climate, Harold travels by passenger ship with his valet Mr. Pipps (Wallace Howe) and personal nurse (Jobyna Ralston) from California to “Paradiso”, a small South American island off the coast of Chile. Once in Paradiso, Harold does not find the peace and seclusion he is desperately seeking; instead, he stumbles into the midst of a revolution against the island’s republic. The uprising is being organized and incited by Jim Blake (James Mason), a greedy “renegade” from the United States, who wants to overthrow Paradiso’s government “to further his own financial interests”.
After being separated from his valet and nurse, Harold wanders about the island’s main town, oblivious at first to the fact that an armed revolt has occurred. Blake soon arranges to have the bewildered hypochondriac thrown into the local prison. There Harold meets Colosso (John Aasen), a gigantic fellow prisoner who is described by the warden as a “wild hermit” and “half crazy with a terrible toothache”. The cellmates quickly engineer an escape together, and Harold subsequently helps Colosso by pulling out his painful tooth. Much relieved, the huge man is eternally grateful and vows to do Harold’s will. Harold now insists that the military conflict and social unrest on the island are “bad for my heart” and must be stopped, so he and Colosso, along with Harold’s nurse, manage by themselves to defeat Blake and his forces and quell the revolution. Those actions finally convince Harold that he is actually quite fit and that he no longer needs to fret daily about his health or take his array of unneeded medications. With a renewed sense of vitality, he now leaves Paradiso with Colosso and his nurse, and the trio board a ship bound for the United States, presumably reuniting on the vessel with Mr. Pipps (who reappears at the end of the film). Upon their return, Harold and his nurse marry; and Colosso finds employment as a very imposing “traffic cop”.
Hal Roach Studios [Public domain]