Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum and sees The Scarlet Car, The Non Stop Kid, and The Taking of Luke McVane

Another night in the only theater in the country that plays silent films on a regular basis. And I finally one the raffle! I'm now the proud owner of a silent film calendar (you can get your own here). Anyway, on to the movies.

First up was a Harold Lloyd short, The Non Stop Kid. Like almost all Lloyd films, it's about him trying to win the girl (and he always does). In this case the girl, Bebe, already likes him. The problem is her father--he's already decided she'll marry professor M. T. Noodle. So Harold kidnaps the professor, steals his clothes, and impersonates him. Wacky hijinx ensue.

Next a western, The Taking of Luke McVane, starring William S. Hart. Hart plays McVane, a rough guy spending his time in a saloon and his money on drink and women. A dirty gambler cheats McVane at cards, there's a fight and McVane kills the cheater. The sheriff is after him so McVane flees to the desert while his girl sets a false trail for the posse. The sheriff is ambushed, but McVane isn't really a bad guy. He takes the sheriff and nurses him back to health. The sheriff says he'll help McVane if he turns himself in. McVane agrees, but on the way back they're ambushed by Apaches and both die. There's a nice memorial where everyone agrees he was actually a good guy. The end.

Then and intermission. And finally the feature, The Scarlet Car. There's a banking scandal, something about $35,000 missing. To be honest, the banking part of it confused me. But two crooked bankers frame an old cashier, Paul Revere Forbes (Lon Chaney). He's a huge fan of his famous ancestor, the Paul Revere. They kill him because he knows too much. Unfortunately, they don't know he's Lon Chaney, the greatest freakin' actor in the world. So he plays dead pretty convincingly. Luckily the boss' son Billy wants to marry Forbes' daughter. So when he finds exonerating evidence, he sets out to clear her father's name. They find he's not actually dead, but he's just gone insane and thinks he's in the Revolutionary War awaiting a message from Paul Revere. Awkward. Lon Chaney doesn't have a lot of screen time, but his role is pivotal and he totally steals the movie.

No comments: