Teddy at the Throttle (1917) Poster

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10/10
Swanson Tied to the Railroad Tracks
drednm18 April 2006
Hilarious comedy short pits Gloria Swanson and Bobby Vernon against villainous Wallace Beery in this fast, funny, and historic comedy short. Typical plot of Beery being the guardian of rich Gloria... He brings in his sister (May Emory) to lure away Bobby so he can knock off Gloria and inherit the estate. Seems like this 1917 delight is lampooning the already famous 1914 serial The Perils of Pauline, which starred Pearl White. Several terrific set pieces with statuesque Emory hauling 5' 2" Vernon around a dance floor, Gloria carrying an umbrella out into a raging wind storm and falling in a mud puddle, and finally being tied to the railroad tracks (which Pearl White did not in her famous serial), only to be saved the Teddy The Dog! Just terrific and great fun. Swanson and Vernon have a ball making these comedy shorts even though La Swanson was soon to depart comedy for the drawing room comedy/dramas of Cecil B. DeMille.
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8/10
A rip-snorting comic melodrama, still fast and fun
wmorrow5924 March 2002
Anyone who believes that early films were slow or stodgy, or thinks rapid cutting was invented for MTV, ought to take a look at this one. Even for modern viewers, the Keystone comedy Teddy at the Throttle races along so fast you have to pay close attention if you hope to follow what's happening. The plot is somewhat complicated, but that's okay; the real point of the exercise is the suspenseful, action-packed finale. Compared to the short comedies Chaplin and Arbuckle were making at the time it's not an especially laugh packed film, being more of a situation comedy with dollops of melodrama, but it sure does move, and we can still see why audiences of the time found it exciting. We might chortle today at such cornball elements as a top-hatted villain who actually ties his victim to the railroad tracks, but viewed in context -- that is, with the understanding that these elements were already considered old-fashioned, even in 1917 -- this film is still exciting, satisfying, and fun. Gloria Swanson and Bobby Vernon were teamed in several short comedies for Sennett during the 1916-17 season, but aside from the diminutive stature they had in common they make a rather odd couple. Even in her early youth Gloria Swanson was a forceful screen presence, and it's hard to accept her in the role of a victim. Just watch the scene when she's locked in a cloak room, and villain Wallace Beery (then her husband off screen, briefly and unhappily) considers leaving her there. When Gloria bursts through the wood paneling and berates Beery furiously, she doesn't appear to be acting, and probably wasn't using the most ladylike language either, from the looks of it. Juvenile lead Bobby Vernon, on the other hand, was . . . well, the polite word to use would be "fey." When he dons women's clothing, as in The Sultan's Wife, he's very convincing. Very, very convincing. He moved gracefully, and was a good dancer -- his dance in Teddy at the Throttle is one of the film's comic highlights -- but macho he was not. Some of the humor in this film derives from the impression given that Bobby appears more likely to get tied to the railroad tracks by the villain, while Gloria looks better equipped to rescue HIM, with or without any assistance from Keystone Teddy. Teddy, by the way, gives one of the screen's most memorable dog performances in this film. I must admit I was a little disillusioned to learn that there were several "Teddys" used by the Keystone/Sennett Studios over the years. This particular Teddy, in any case, performs admirably during the genuinely thrilling race-against-the-clock climax. Audiences must have cheered Teddy at the Throttle in 1917, and, given the opportunity, modern audiences will cheer it yet. P.S. On a personal note, in 1976 I interviewed Gloria Swanson for my school newspaper. She was cordial for the most part, but when I mentioned this film she gave me a sour look and promptly changed the subject. It's easy to see why in retrospect, for although she comes off pretty well there's no denying that, in the end, it's the dog who saves the day and steals the show. This film is more of a vehicle for Teddy than Gloria!
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9/10
Vernon and Swanson Make a Keystone Klassic
wes-connors30 September 2007
Bobby Vernon (as Robert Knight) is a fickle-hearted youth. His girlfriend Gloria Swanson (as Gloria Dawn) lives down the hall with her dog Teddy (a Great Dane). Ms. Swanson's guardian is rascally Wallace Berry (as Henry Black); he is also in charge of Mr. Vernon's estate, which he is stealing from. In order to protect, and enhance, his stolen wealth, Mr. Berry plots with buxom sister May Emory - the two agree Ms. Emory will lure the unsuspecting Vernon into marriage. Vernon excels in this film; particularly, watch his performance when proposing to Emory - his expressions, and word-perfect reading, make him easily understood. It's a great scene. Vernon's dance at the hotel (again, with Emory) is another highlight. Swanson and Berry (who married in real life) are terrific, as well. The production is first rate, including a beautifully photographed storm, and an exciting comic climax. Hang on as Vernon and Teddy take a bicycle to rescue Swanson from an approaching train! ********* Teddy at the Throttle (4/15/17) Clarence G. Badger ~ Bobby Vernon, Gloria Swanson, Wallace Berry, May Emory
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6/10
Teddy to the rescue
bkoganbing22 September 2013
Many years ago both Gloria Swanson and Wallace Beery started their careers in short subjects like this one they did for Mack Sennett. At the time they did Teddy At The Throttle they were married, but that didn't last much longer than this Mack Sennett short.

Gloria is an innocent young heiress and her guardian is the grasping and greedy Beery who also has control of the fortune that young Bobby Vernon is coming into. He must prevent the two from marrying lest Vernon discover that Beery has been living off his inheritance.

His efforts foiled Beery in the true Snidely Whiplash tradition ties Gloria to railroad tracks. But he reckons without her trusty Great Dane Teddy who's so smart that Rin Tin Tin should go to remedial obedience school to catch up. What Teddy does to save Gloria from being pancaked by the locomotive is a feat that will leave you gasping as much as 1917 audiences must have.

Nice to see Beery and Swanson in their salad days working for Mack Sennett.
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Pretty Good Slapstick Comedy
Snow Leopard3 December 2004
This is a pretty good slapstick comedy, with a good cast and a humorously implausible story line. The action builds up nicely as it goes along, and Gloria Swanson and Wallace Beery also make it well worth watching. The story features Beery as a dishonest guardian who is managing the affairs of a young woman (Swanson) and a young man, in such a way that he brings profit to himself. Beery is very entertaining in the role, with just the right degree of exaggeration in his mannerisms and expressions to maximize the amusing effect without pushing it too far. He was very well-suited to playing this kind of slapstick villain. The movie maintains a good tone and pace most of the time, keeping up the energy level while not taking itself too seriously. The climactic chase sequence is amusing, and it is filmed in such a way so as to let itself get away with some very zany developments. Overall, it's a good example of the better kind of the Mack Sennett-style manic short comedies.
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9/10
It starts very slow, but it's excellent--especially for 1917
MartinHafer19 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I have reviewed hundreds of silent films and I have a tendency to be a little more forgiving for films the older they are. By the mid-1920s, silents were at their apex as art so comparing them to films from even a decade before really isn't fair as the technology and technique improved so much during this time. So comparing this Bobby Vernon film to one of Harold Lloyd's or Buster Keaton's of the 1920s isn't really fair. For its day, however, TEDDY AT THE THROTTLE was almost as good as you can find for a comedy--and it compares very well to the best shorts of Chaplin and Arbuckle from this period. This actually surprised me because I've seen several other Vernon films and found them all to be rather average--nothing more. Here, however, the studio brought out its best. The film begins by showing Bobby in love with his neighbor, played by Gloria Swanson. Swanson was frequently paired with Vernon as well as her husband at that time, Wallace Beery--who usually played the villain. As usual, Beery is up to no good, as he plans on marrying his goddaughter Swanson so that no one will know that he's been dipping into her trust fund. So it's up to Beery to stop the romance between Bobby and Gloria. Now, in a completely unnecessary step (and one that detracts from the film), you find out that Bobby must marry Gloria or he won't inherit HIS fortune. The fact that there are two such specific trust funds and no one other than Beery knows about them is a bit hard to believe--and at this point I was very disappointed in the film. Fortunately, the film then switches into high gear. Up until then, absolutely no laughs at all--and the film was almost 1/3 complete. What follows is a cute dance scene using wires (quite the innovation for 1917), a tremendous chase scene as well as Beery doing his best 'Snidely Whiplash' imitation as he chains Gloria to the tracks to keep her from telling everyone that he's a crook. So, it's up to Teddy the dog to come to the rescue and by the end of the film it's all happily ever after in a scene very reminiscent of the great Arbuckle film FATTY AND MABEL ADRIFT. Excellent action, a few good laughs and a nice overall story despite starting slow, this is surely one of the better shorts of the 1910s.
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4/10
Scheming back in the day
filmreviews@web.de16 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Teddy at the Throttle" is a 24-minute movie from 1917, so this one has its 100th anniversary this year. The director is Clarence G. Badger, but the stars here are easily found in the cast. Fans of black-and-white silent films like this one here will certainly recognize Bobby Vernon, but the bigger names by today's standards are probably Oscar winner Wallace Beery and Gloria Swanson of course, both at young ages still, especially Swanson, and Vernon as well. we all know that gold-digging women still exist today, those who are in relationships with men (usually marriages), not because they love the man, but because they love his money and in this little movie we find out that these people existed back then already as well. But of course things get complicated for these despicable creatures when true love comes into play. So yeah, this is basically the story of this short film we have here. It could have needed some more intertitles and despite the big names attached to the project, it was quite a forgettable film in my opinion. I give it a thumbs-down. Not recommended.
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Nice to See Swanson and Beery
Michael_Elliott19 September 2012
Teddy at the Throttle (1917)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Bobbie (Bobby Vernon), the good guy wants to marry Gloria (Gloria Swanson), the good girl but the evil Henry Black (Wallace Beery) wants to keep them apart so that he can keep stealing from their inheritance. TEDDY AT THE THROTTLE features a lot of familiar Keystone elements but I think the biggest is the fact that the majority of the running time is just padded out with boring stuff that doesn't make you laugh. Many people talk about the great action that this film has and it certainly has that but it doesn't happen until the final portion of the film. Once the action starts there's no question that the film picks up some speed but before you know it this segment is over and so is the film. This can't make up for the first fifteen or so minutes where nothing much is happening and the viewer just grows bored waiting for something to start. The one thing that keeps this movie watchable is being able to see some future stars just starting out. Swanson is good in her lead performance and I thought her then husband Beery was also very good in his role as the villain. I really didn't care too much for Vernon though. TEDDY AT THE THROTTLE is worth seeing for the stars but it's still far from a classic.
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3/10
Iconic but haphazard
timbeach-0388919 December 2015
'Teddy at the Throttle' is worth watching for the number of memorable shots it manages to pack into an otherwise forgettable story. The opening shot where a lady dances with the dog while another plays the ukulele, the dancing sequence in which typical gender roles are reversed and the tall lady twists and turns the short man, and the woman tied to the train tracks finale. It is also fast paced and energetic, though I would say, unusually for the era, too much so, as everything that happens feels completely haphazard and implausible. It is also considered a comedy though I don't recall laughing once, aside from maybe the odd smile at the zaniness of it all.

There is no cleverness here such as you would find in a Keaton or Chaplin film, and it is only for those looking something completely silly and a little iconic.
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