Friday, October 18, 2013

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for comedy night--October 2013

Back at my favorite little silent film theater for a foursome of funny films.

ONE A.M. (1916): Before he was in films, Charlie Chaplin was in Music Hall (essentially the English version of Vaudeville) and his favorite act was the "inebriate" act. He reprises it here for the silver screen, taking a break from his Tramp character to play a well-to-do gentleman arriving home from a night of drinking. Other than a brief appearance by the cab driver who does nothing (Albert Austin) it's all Chaplin, struggling with his keys, his rugs, his spinning table, his stairs, his bed, his...whole darn house. And it's hilarious.

THE HAUNTED HOUSE (1921): Buster Keaton is a clumsy bank clerk. Counterfeiters have rigged up their hideout to seem like it's haunted to scare people away. But Buster and an awful cast of actors in costume for Faust have some wacky hijinx in there and end up foiling the crooks. Hilarious.

Then after a brief intermission, two more funny shots.

HAUNTED SPOOKS (1920): Poor, down-on-his-luck Harold Lloyd is rescued from a suicide attempt by a lawyer who needs to find a groom for Mildred David (who actually did go on to marry Lloyd in real life.) See, she inherits a fortune--if she can live in the family mansion with her husband. Her greedy uncle tries to scare them away by pretending it's haunted. But some wacky coincidences end up with everyone thinking it's haunted, and getting the bejeezus hilariously scared out of them. This was also the film Lloyd was working on when he had his infamous accident with a prop bomb that turned out to be real, blowing his thumb and forefinger off his right hand.

HABEAS CORPUS (1921): And finally, The Boys, Laurel and Hardy are hired by a scientist to help with his experiments. Problem number one--the scientist is completely loony-tunes crazy. Problem number 2--he hired Laurel and Hardy to go dig up a corpse from the local cemetery. Maybe times were just different then, or maybe L&H are geniuses who can wring a heck of a lot of humor from such a macabre setup. In any case, it was hilarious.

Have I used that word, "hilarious" enough in this post? Well, they all were.

Total Running Time: 84 minutes
My Total Minutes: 339,002

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