|Index||5 reviews in total|
I saw a nice Blackhawk print of this film not too long ago. It is a good representation of John Bunny's comic persona. He was a very heavy set man and was frequently paired with very slender ( and a good bit taller) actress Flora Finch as his wife. The films they made together were often referred too as Bunnygraphs( A play on the title of DW Griffith's Biographs). A Cure for Pokeritis runs about 11 minutes or so when projected at silent 18 frames per second speed. It is a cute little film and some of John's facial expressions are quite funny. This is worth seeing if you are interested in early American cinema comedy and would like to see something from a star that PRE-DATES Charlie Chaplin.
An amusing story and John Bunny's lead performance make "A Cure For
Pokeritis" very entertaining, and put it among the better short comedies of
the early 1910's. The story is set up efficiently and is told well, with
the cast also getting the most out of the situation.
Bunny plays a compulsive poker player who taxes his wife's patience once too often, provoking her to try to come up with an involved 'cure' for his obsession. The story builds up nicely to a frantic finale. Along the way, Bunny shows a knack for expressing quite a bit with basic means such as a simple facial expression. Uncomplicated though the role may be, he does quite a good job, and it's too bad that not many of his films have survived. Flora Finch also makes a good partner for him. Overall, this is quite good, and worth seeking out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For it's time, 1912, this silent does a better job story telling than
many films. John Bunny, a large comedian who would die in 1915 is the
star of this film.
The story involves his addiction to poker & the fact he is on a major losing streak. After his latest loss his wife, Flora Finch, is extremely upset with him as he comes home broke except for a little money he borrows from another player after his loss. He swears to her he is giving up poker.
The next time he wants to play, he gets one of his friends to write a note that he is going to a meeting of a group to help him quit. He goes to his "meeting" & continues his losing streak. His wife then gets wise to what he is up to. She calls a cousin who involves a church group to go to the address where the poker game is.
In a real prelude to Mack Sennett's Keystone Cops, the mens group goes to a costume store & dress up as Cops before they go to break up the poker game. At the game, John Bunny has finally broken his losing streak & is way ahead until the phony cops come in & break up the game. The wives of all the players come in behind the cops & this is where it all ends as John's winnings wind up on the floor when the table is over turned.
This one is a more complicated story for an early comedy film & makes a bit of a social statement about the evil of poker.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I could easily see someone today watching this short comedy and not
being super-impressed. After all, if you have no idea what other
comedies were like in 1912, then you'd have no idea how clever and
innovative it is by comparison. 1912 was an era where most comedies
consisted of people being bonked on the head. In addition, most films
in the genre had no scripts. Instead, as the cameraman cranked the
camera, the director yelled suggestions while the actors improvised.
And, when they had no idea what to do next, the actors would shoot each
other in the butt with blanks or simply bonk the other guy on the head.
They weren't exactly sophisticated nor were they character or plot
In light of this, the few remaining films of John Bunny that exist today are a sharp contrast. His films are NOT based on bonking and show great care to the plot--a real honest to goodness plot, mind you! It's not surprising then that he became the first big film comedian in America, as his films had more depth to them. They also seemed to very often star Flora Finch--a very thin and tall woman who was a huge contrast to the very rotund and gnome-like John Bunny.
This film begins with John coming home late after staying out with the guys playing poker. When his wife confronts him, John swears off poker forever. However, a week later, he gets a letter from a club that welcomes him into membership and they meet every Wednesday night. Of course this is just a meeting with his pals to play poker and after a while his wife begins to suspect. So, she asks her cousin to investigate. However, when they discover the truth, instead of confronting him, they decide to play a trick on John and his friends. The cousin and his friends from the Bible study group all dress up like cops and raid the place--scaring the wits out of the men and hopefully convincing them to mend their ways. Surprisingly, this scene could have consisted of lots of bonking but instead is relatively underplayed--a good way to end the film.
In many ways, you can see the future in this film. This plot, or at least a variation of it, has been done a bazillion times on television--ranging from "The Honeymooners" to "The Flintstones". So, obviously, Bunny hit on something that resonated as much then as it did decades later. Overall, a very good comedy short. It's just too bad there aren't many more Bunny films out there, as I've seen about a half dozen of his over 200 films and there just may not be any more available.
This is the second short I watched on YouTube that starred John Bunny and the first with Flora Finch as his wife. In this one, Bunny has lost another card game and he's promised Flora he's giving up. But his wife has found out that his rehab meetings are a cover so she gets her cousin to catch him in the act. I suppose the fact this was the first time this particular plot was presented in a filmed comedy gives this some points but personally, I didn't find anything here that was funny and the conversion wasn't too convincing to me. And since there were no real chases or slapstick of any kind, I guess there's not much I can recommend about this short except if you want to see something starring this forgotten duo, A Cure for Pokeritis is worth a look since there's so few of their movies still in existence.
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