|Index||2 reviews in total|
Douglas Fairbanks started his film career in breezy little comedies
that stressed his athleticism. REGGIE MIXES IN in a good example. Here
he plays Reggie, a rich young man (he was 33) who oddly gets involved
as a bouncer in a beer hall, a gang of thugs, and a love woman (Bessie
Love). No much sense to the plot, rather a string of events loosely
tied together and all aimed for Reggie to win the girl.
Fairbanks started in films in 1915 and right from the start, refused to play love scenes. So even in this 1916 film, Fairbanks and Love clutch but never kiss. He has a few terrific stunts, however, that keep this film surprising and brisk (at 47 minutes). Co-stars include Alma Rubens (hysterically named Lemona), Joseph Singleton (as the butler Old Pickleface), Lillian Langdon (as the aunt), and Frank Bennett (as Sammy the thug).
Reggie is the perfect character for Fairbanks in these early films because they allow him to polish his acting skills and presage his astonishing career as the swashbuckling superstar of the 20s, a career that combined his great athletic skills with a great sense of fun.
"Reggie Mixes In" is a below average vehicle for Douglas Fairbanks.
It's one of his earliest comedies, from before his turn to
swashbucklers in the 1920s. He plays the wealthy Reggie Van Deuzen, who
apparently was born into money since there's no indication in the film
that he worked for it. Reggie falls in love with a girl from the slums
and so decides to "mix in"; he pretends to be poor, rents a shabby flat
and gets a job as a bouncer at a rough nightclub. There, he mixes it up
with gang members and ends up fighting a gang boss for the girl. It's
not a very good scenario, and the pacing is rather slow and uneventful
for a Fairbanks comedyand it's not funny. Much of the humor is some
knockabout between Reggie and his servant, which wasn't Fairbanks's
usual style. Christy Cabanne wasn't a good director. Three of my least
favorite Fairbanks films ("The Lamb", "Flirting with Fate" and this
one) were made by him, and soon after he made them, Triangle fired him.
In his other early pictures, Fairbanks was beginning more fruitful
collaborations with the likes of Allan Dwan, John Emerson, Victor
Fleming and Anita Loos.
The print/transfer I saw was rather poor, but viewable. It may have been missing some footage, as there are some especially abrupt cuts between a couple scenes; otherwise, this was even more of a slipshod production. Additionally, the subplot of the other woman, Lemona, who's after Reggie's money, doesn't really go anywhere in the print I saw and, regardless, should have been dropped. The film ran about 45 minutes. Perhaps, one point of interest in "Reggie Mixes In" for classic cinema fans is Bessie Love as Doug's leading lady; in the silent and early sound eras, she was also a notable star.
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