Monday, November 22, 2010

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for comedy shorts night--Nov 20, 2010

Man, that place was packed! I thought the rain storm would keep a few people away, but I'm lucky I got there early. And, of course, the movies delivered (as did Greg Pane on the piano)

THE VAGABOND (1916): Charlie Chaplin in his Tramp character helps a poor, friendless girl (Niles favorite Edna Purviance) who has been stolen by gypsies. He fights off her captors, washes her face (in the most hilarious scene), and is ready to settle down with her. But a rival enters the picture, a painter who makes her famous.

NEVER WEAKEN (1921): Harold Lloyd does his best to help his girlfriend and her boss's struggling osteopathy business. And he succeeds, but he also overhears her talking with a man about marrying her. Distraught, he decides to end it all, but doesn't have the guts. And then dizzying high-rise girder acrobatic hijinx ensue. And those scenes always get to me. Hilarious, and truly tense and exciting.

Then a brief intermission

HIGH RISE (1921): Buster Keaton didn't actually like this film, but his friend and mentor Rosco "Fatty" Arbuckle loved it. Faking his way through a sharpshooting job in an amusement park, he gets inducted into the Blinking Buzzards, and is given the job of assassinating a businessman who's late on a payment. He's also hired by the very same businessman as a bodyguard. And with the house tricked out with all sorts of secret passages and trapdoors (for his safety), you know Keaton's trademark acrobatic wackiness will ensue.

SUGAR DADDIES (1927): And finally, The Boys, Laurel and Hardy. This was just before they were really a comedy team, they just happened to be appearing in a lot of the same Hal Roach movies, but Roach hadn't figured out to team them up yet. Their longtime foil/co-star Jim Finlayson gets equal billing, and stars as a rich tycoon who wakes up after a bender and is informed by his butler (Hardy) that he was married last night. Not only does he not want that, but it's really all a scam by his "wife" and her cohorts to steal his money. So he calls his lawyer (Laurel) to fix it. But nothing will be fixed before Finlayson ends up running through an amusement park with Laurel on his back, dressed up as a very tall woman. You know, to be inconspicuous. Hilarious. I think Mr. Roach should team these guys up more often!

Total Running Time: 94 minutes
My Total Minutes: 216,304

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