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A Versatile Villain (1915)

 -  Short | Comedy  -  29 May 1915 (USA)
5.3
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 26 users  
Reviews: 4 user

After being falsely accused of theft, Pete, the station master's assistant, rescues his girlfriend from the genuine villain, marauding crook Desperate Dan.

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(as Frank C. Griffin)

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(scenario)
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Title: A Versatile Villain (1915)

A Versatile Villain (1915) on IMDb 5.3/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Pete - Assistant Baggage Clerk
...
The Sheriff's Daughter
Harry Bernard ...
Chief Baggage Clerk
William Sheer ...
Desperate Dan
Josef Swickard ...
The Sheriff
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Storyline

After being falsely accused of theft, Pete, the station master's assistant, rescues his girlfriend from the genuine villain, marauding crook Desperate Dan.

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Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

29 May 1915 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Not to be villainized
28 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This early Keystone comedy one-reeler affords us a glimpse of a rather unusual sight: Charley Chase, action hero. It actually has a relatively modern feel, since it's essentially a parody of the kind of over-the-top melodrama that would be associated today with films from 1915. Charley works in a railway office and does magic as a hobby, and the comedy of the piece is that is focus is not on the danger caused by the rather ineffectual-looking villain of the the title, "Desperate Dan," but on the annoyances caused in Charley's life by his interference. It works well, especially in the earlier sequences with Dan's shenanigans causing Charley's magic trick to make him look like a thief.

Maybe Charley's influence caused this to focus more on funny situations than funny actions, and it flows well from the set-up here, since the very fact that it spoofs action films means moving into situation instead becomes part of the reversal of expectations of the comedy. The obligatory Keystone action sequence at the end seems natural here since we are following the line of the subject of the spoof. Everyone overplays completely, as was not uncommon in these Keystones, but they seem to be overplaying even more for usual - in the style of overblown dramatic pieces - for the laughs. A fun little reel, and interesting for its early glimpse of Charley Chase and its contemporary take on 1910s melodramas.


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