Sunday, July 5, 2009

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for some 4th of July Fireworks

Metaphorically, on the screen. They didn't shoot of any actual fireworks in the theater. That might've been cool, but seeing as how the old Niles theater burnt to the ground, it also might've been very uncool.

Anyway, I spent my country's birthday eating popcorn, drinking Coca-Cola, and watching some movies, because that's America to me.

DON'T SHOVE: Harold Lloyd, early in developing his "glasses" character, goes after the girl and against his rival. This is one of his "go-getter" comedies, and when some treachery gets him kicked out of his girl's birthday party, he ends up on the run from a cop and finally in a skating rink, where most of the slapstick takes place. Turns out, after the birthday party the girl and all the guests decided to go skating. As always for Lloyd, he gets the girl at the end.

LIBERTY: The Boys, Laurel and Hardy, are great proponents of liberty. You would be too, if you'd just busted out of prison. First things first--they have to change out of their prison uniforms and into street clothes. Problem, the accidentally switch pants (so Stan can't keep Ollie's giant pants up, and Ollie barely fits into Stan's), which leads to a lot of comedy based on them trying to disrobe and trade pants in public. Eventually the action takes them onto a skyscraper under construction. A common element of comedies of the time, and as someone with a slight fear of heights, these always get me.

And then an intermission, and the feature presentation:

DOWN TO EARTH: Before his swashbuckling days, Douglas Fairbanks made his name as a leading man in comedies, particularly "social" comedies. In this case, he takes on hypochondria. He's an active, manly, guy. As the film opens, he (as Billy Gaynor) is making the winning play in a football game. Ethel Forsythe (Eileen Percy), a friend from childhood, is in the stands watching and cheering for him. Afterwards, before he sets out to make his fortune, he asks for her hand in marriage. But she refuses, insisting that they have nothing in common. He likes adventure, and she likes partying in the upper crust of society, and she has a beau who can give her that, Charles Riddles (Charles K. Gerrard). So Gaynor goes off in search of adventure--climbing mountains, exploring jungles, etc., trying to forget, while she stays home and "forgets to try". When he gets news (out on his ranch) that she's suffered a nervous breakdown from partying too much, he goes to visit her in the sanitarium. He finds it's full of idle rich with "ailments" that could be cured with nothing less than a little exercise--a dyspeptic who can't even eat a raspberry, an alcoholic, an old man with a hacking cough, a full blown hypochondriac, etc., and of course Ethel (all have humorous names like Mr. D. Speptic, Gordon Jinny, Ms. Fuller Jermes, Mr. Hackincoff, etc.) He decides to cure them all, and buys the sanitarium from the wealthy owner. He hatches a plan, with the help of the lead doctor, to usher them out of the city (under a fake smallpox scare) and crash them on a desert island (a bit of beach just over the hill from a city), and force them to fend for themselves (or at least exercise to get his food). 2 months later, they're all healthy as horses, but Riddles finds out about the ruse and tries to steal Ethel away. So Gaynor beats him up with one hand tied behind his back--literally. Awesome, fun action.

1 comment:

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