Monday, April 5, 2010

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for Lon Chaney's SHOCK (and a couple of shorts)

Finally back at my favorite local silent film cult.

The two shorts were as different as night and day:

DEATH'S MARATHON (1913): A D.W. Griffith drama that I have to admit I couldn't quite follow. It ended with a chase (of course, it's Griffith) to try to save a man from shooting himself.

SPLASH YOURSELF (1927): A wacky slapstick (and very funny) comedy starring Bobby Vernon as a Swedish immigrant who lands a job as a plumber's assistant and provides the precursor to the Three Stooges' A PLUMBIN' WE WILL GO. Hilarious.

And after the intermission...

The inimitable LON CHANEY actually shows his face (and his considerable acting talent) in THE SHOCK. He plays Wilse Darling, a crippled hood in Chinatown. On the orders of local boss Queen Ann he transfers to Fallbrook to lay low. Something in the clean country air makes him turn good. Or maybe it's the local beauty, Gertrude Hadley. But when his real orders come in, it leads to a dramatic finish with maybe just a touch of God's intervention (not a bad choice for Easter Eve). Good, engaging drama with excellent acting all around (but of course, especially Chaney).

Next week: Comedy Shorts night
The week after that: 1906 Earthquake night
Upcoming special event: CORKED! with Jeffrey Weissman (see my review here)
Looking way ahead to early June: Charlie Chaplin Days

Keep up to date on their website here.
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