Teddy at the Throttle (1917)
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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.
** 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.
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.