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This is one of my favorite films from the old Keystone studio. It has action and comedy but most of all, SPEED AND THRILLS. It's a fast moving, fun romp through 1915 southern California, with a stunning climax on a bridge. (Well, at least stunning for the time). If you want to see a Keystone comedy from the 1910's, this should be it! You can only get it one one video, (as far as I know). It's on a video called the "Keystone Cops", one of the volumes in a series called "Hollywood Gold" I Found it in a Suncoast Video, and a Sam Goody so I guess it could turn up in any video store. So look around!
Although this has a manic pace that builds up to an involved chase
sequence, this Keystone comedy ends up not being particularly
interesting or entertaining. The characters are plain, and there often
seems to be little reason for some of the story developments. The gag
ideas likewise are fast-paced but often unimaginative.
Mack Swain stars as a jealous husband who takes in a wounded hunter, only to become outraged at the hunter's advances on his wife. Before long a chase is underway, and soon after that the Keystone Cops join in. The chase sequence tries to involve some incongruous means of transport competing with one another, but aside from that, there are a lot of other similar comedies from the era that work much better than this one does.
Chester Conklin and Mack Swain did a lot of comedy shorts for Sennett (Keystone Studios)--even up to the days of talking pictures. But, in most of the films that people are familiar with, they are "second bananas" (supporting actors). Because of this, it's interesting to see them starring in a film and not supporting actors like Chaplin or Arbuckle. And, despite not having this star power behind the film, it's a pretty good one--better than most of the Keystone films I have seen, in fact. The movie is essentially a chase movie (a very common theme) and some of the stunts were pretty amazing and even cute at times. All these worked together to make a surprisingly watchable film even in the 21st century.
A Comedy of Speed Driving,Drunken Love, and Hunting. There are several laughs throughout the short running time, such as Walrus's affections of Ambrose's wife, and the climax on the bridge, but it is sometimes clumsily executed and plotted. I liked the spare use of titles, and when they do appear they are like subversive nursery rhymes. Pretty Good overall.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Love, Speed, and Thrills is another Keystone comedy directed by Mack Sennett. It stars Mack Swain, Chester Conklin, and Minta Durfee (Fatty Arbuckle's wife at the time). Conklin plays a man who encounters a black cat and gets wounded accidentally afterwards by Swain. Swain takes him home to his wife Durfee where Conklin flirts with her. Swain gets jealous and is ordered to leave by his wife who vows to "obey his every wish". Bad idea, as Conklin tries to have his way with Durfee. He takes her on his bike as a chase ensures after Swain calls the cops. Now we're cooking...Lots of amusing chases with Swain on his horse and the Kops running around with Durfee managing to escape with Swain occasionally though Conklin keeps getting her back. He gets his comeuppance, however, as his bike literally breaks into a bridge as he falls to the police below and Swain uses his rope to rescue his wife just before that black cat comes back as the short ends. That last scene alone has to be seen to be believed and makes this one of the better short comedies from this era. Worth a look for any silent movie buff out there.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mack Sennett made over 1,000 short and feature length comedies. His
list of discoveries is legendary: Chaplin, Arbuckle, Gloria Swanson,
Mabel Normand, Harry Langdon, and several others. In the '30's, he made
shorts with Bing Crosby and W. C. Fields. Love, Speed and Thrills is a
typical title from Keystone Studio in 1915, after Chaplin had left the
studio for Essanay.
Ambrose (Mack Swain, who played Big Jim in Chaplin's The Gold Rush) sees Walrus (Chester Conklin, the barber's customer from Chaplin's The Great Dictator) get shot, and takes him home to recover. When Ambrose leaves, Walrus flirts with Ambrose's wife. The scene where Walrus winks at Ambrose's wife is hilarious even by 21st century standards. Ambrose catches Walrus flirting, and a chase ensues using trains, horses, cars and on foot, The Keystone Cops.
This is a very fast-paced one-reel comedy from Sennett, and co. The title delivers what's promised in this one.
If you can find it, look it over.
Love, Speed and Thrills (1915)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
I recently read Leonard Maltin's book on short subjects and there was an interesting theory shared by Mack Sennett. He was under the belief that you could make a very bad movie and as long as the film was fast enough no one would notice. That might have been true back in the day but in 2011 I was clearly able to see how bad this movie was and even at the fast pace. The film has Ambrose accidentally shooting Walrus so he takes him back to his house to help him recover. Walrus eventually goes after Ambrose's wife and before long the two are fighting and the Keystone Kops are called. This was the twelfth and final Keystone Kop short and I think I've seen around four and five and I'll admit that I haven't liked a single one. If you are a fan of the series then you might feel I'm too hard on this movie but if you're not a fan then I think you'll agree with me. The "direction" by Sennett is pretty rough to begin with but it really doesn't help that nothing here is funny. We get countless fights, stunts and fast-paced action but none of it ever equaled a laugh and more often than not the attempted humor comes across rather forced. The final few minutes of the film has a big chase going on with many obstacles but once again I simply didn't find it funny.
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