Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for comedy shorts night--Jan 15, 2011

The first comedy shorts night of the new year!

POLICE (1916): Chaplin's final Essanay film, and quite a far ranging madcap adventure. Here's what I said when I first saw it at Niles back in December 2008.
Charlie plays an ex-con released back into the cruel world. He's swindled by a fake parson, fired by a cook, nearly robbed in a flophouse, and finally runs into his old cellmate, who convinces him to help him rob a house. The house happens to be home to the hard-working girl from the kitchen where he worked briefly (Edna Purviance, longtime Chaplin leading lady). She recognizes him, and after convincing him to go straight and chasing off his cellmate, she helps him out with the police.
Yup, that's pretty much it.

LONG FLIV THE KING (1926): Charley Chase in another film that I've seen before at Niles (this is getting more common, like I've been going here a lot). I saw this in November 2009, and at the time I said:
Charley Chase stars, as a condemned prisoner who marries the visiting princess of Thermosa so she can inherit the throne. But when the governor grants him a pardon, he becomes king. So he travels to Thermosa (with his sidekick Max Davidson) to claim his throne. Hilarious. I love Charley Chase.
What I fail to mention there, is the devious prime minister who plans to kill him and steal the throne. Or his henchman, Oliver Hardy. Or that my only complaint is Max Davidson's unfortunate portrayal of a Jewish stereotype (had he just been an ordinary greedy bastard with no reference to race or creed, it would be plenty funny, and that anti-semitic stuff just doesn't play anymore).

Then a brief intermission (I won't get into the burning popcorn and the fire alarms going off. Needless to say, it was an exciting night to be short-handed with a sold out show) and back to the movies.

THE BOAT (1921): Buster Keaton in yet another movie I'd seen before at Niles. Here's what I said in August 2009:
Buster Keaton's classic of destruction. Just trying to take his boat the Damfino on it's maiden voyage, he destroys his house, his car, the dock, and more. He ends up soaked, the Damfino does somersaults on the waves, and when he sends an S.O.S and they ask what boat is calling, answering "Damfino" doesn't result in help.
Yup, that sums it up pretty well. Plus there's a treat at the end for any lip-readers.

DOUBLE WHOOPEE (1929): Finally, a movie I hadn't seen before. Laurel and Hardy plus Jean Harlow! Stan and Ollie show up at a fancy hotel at just the right time to be mistaken for visiting royalty. In fact, they're the new doorman and footman, ready to start work. And of course their usual hilarious mayhem ensues. The visiting prince routinely falls down an open, muddy elevator shaft. And a swanky blond (Harlow) gets her dress caught in the car door and enters the hotel in her undergarments.

Total Running Time: 101 minutes
My Total Minutes: 219,464

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