Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for comedy shorts night--September 17, 2011

Gotta love comedy shorts night

THE ADVENTURER (1917): Chaplin in one of his funniest Mutual shorts. He's an escaped prisoner who evades the police, becomes a hero for saving several people from drowning (including leading lady Edna Purviance and giant foil Eric Campbell in his final performance before his fatal car crash). And he causes a ton of havoc at a party. Chaplin at his manic, slapstick best.

THE HIGH SIGN (1921): Keaton as a not-so-sharp sharpshooter who is simultaneously hired to protect and assassinate the local miser August Nickelnurser. The Blinking Buzzards want to kill him because he has refused to pay their extortion price. So not only does Mr. Nickelnurser hire the most inept bodyguard, he also rigs his house with all sorts of secret passages, leading to a pretty frantic and hilarious final act chase.

Then a brief intermission, and the second half of the program

ISN'T LIFE TERRIBLE? (1925): Niles favorite Charley Chase stars as a beleaguered husband (a common role for him), with a supporting role by Oliver "Babe" Hardy as his ne'er-do-well brother-in-law. At the urging of his family, he wins a cruise vacation by selling the most fountain pens (including a rather Freudian scene where he keeps shaking a pen and it spurts in his face. Or maybe I just have a way too dirty mind). Well, the cruise is no vacation. He loses his daughter, picks up a little black girl instead, the boat is falling apart, and the lifeboats don't work. Pretty hilarious.

BACON GRABBERS (1929): And finally The Boys, Laurel and Hardy, in their second to last silent. They play debt collectors tasked by the sheriff to recover a radio from local miser Edgar Kennedy. Of course, he has no intention of paying, giving up the radio, or even being served. In fact, the first half has Stan and Ollie just struggling to put the paperwork into Kennedy's hand. And when they finally do, their work is only half done. Very funny stuff.

And that was that.

Total Running Time: 94 minutes
My Total Minutes: 247,949

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