Saturday, August 23, 2008

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum and sees Douglas Fairbanks in "Reggie Mixes In"

Back at my favorite theater that plays silent films every Saturday night.

First a couple of shorts, starting with "The Thieving Hand". A one-armed honest beggar is rewarded by a rich man with an artificial limb. Problem is, the limb has a mind of it's own and starts stealing against his will, in this comedy trick film.

Then a Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle short, "Fatty's Tintype Tangle". Tintype refers to a type of camera. Fatty is married to a lovely lady, but her mother rules the house and abuses him. He leaves in a huff (presumably just for a walk to cool off) and is accidentally photographed in a misunderstood pose with a young lady (it's a misunderstanding, he was just being nice and trying to reassure her after he sat on her knitting needle). Unfortunately, they're from Alaska, meaning her husband is a hot-head who attacks with his pistols (which he doesn't know how to hold steady for shooting). To make matters worse, his mother-in-law sees the photograph. And to make matters much, much worse, the Alaskans are looking for a home and unwittingly rent out Fatty's home from his wife. Needless to say, wacky hijinx ensue.

Then after an intermission, the feature program, Douglas Fairbanks in "Reggie Mixes In". Fairbanks is best known for his swashbuckler roles, but this film predates those and he plays a contemporary character. Specifically, he plays Reggie, a lazy but athletic idle rich kid, just out of college. With no real aim, he amuses himself with his servant "Old Pickleface." Out on a drive, they find a little girl who is lost. They take her home, his first introduction to the working class part of town. There his eye catches a lovely lady who he learns is a dancer at a local club, Gallaghers. He and Old Pickleface dress up as working class toughs and visit Gallaghers. A gang fight breaks out, he equips himself well, and earns a job as the club's bouncer. He gets into a war with the gang, barely escaping, and finally wins the girl. Everyone is happy (except the gangsters he whups).

And that was that. Kudos to Frederick Hodges at the piano.

Next week, although I won't be there, is comedy shorts night, which is always possible. So if you want to see it, show up early.

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