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Moonshine (1918)

 |  Comedy, Short  |  12 May 1918 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 376 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 1 critic

A feud between the Owens and the Gillettes ends when the last remaining Gillette is killed, but new trouble erupts for the mountain folk with the arrival of a U.S. revenue agent and his ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Revenue Agent
...
Revenue Agent
...
Mountain Man
Alice Lake ...
Moonshiner's Daughter
Charles Dudley ...
Moonshine Leader
Joe Bordeaux ...
(as Joe Bordeau)
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Storyline

A feud between the Owens and the Gillettes ends when the last remaining Gillette is killed, but new trouble erupts for the mountain folk with the arrival of a U.S. revenue agent and his assistant. The revenuers search high and low for the secret hideaway where the mountain people prepare illegal alcohol, but end up in deep trouble that only a little movie magic can save them from. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 May 1918 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chiaro di luna  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (remaining footage)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Leading lady Alice Lake suffered an injury on the set of this film, according to an article in the December 1918 issue of Photoplay magazine. She was preparing to mount a horse when the horse stepped on her foot. Fortunately, Alice was standing on a sandy surface at the time and no bones were broken, but her foot was sore for weeks afterward. See more »

Quotes

Alices Father: Calm down, my child. Wait until you're married to start hitting him
Moonshiner's Daughter: I'll never marry that big gorilla!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Silent Clowns: Buster Keaton (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Fatty Demolishes the Fourth Wall
23 August 2005 | by See all my reviews

In 1918, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was probably the second, or third, most popular comedian in cinema (after Charlie Chaplin and, perhaps, Douglas Fairbanks, depending on one's categorization). Although it might be changing now with the increased accessibility of his films, Arbuckle seems unduly ignored by film historians and aficionados of today, and it's been said that probably has much to do with the rape and manslaughter trials that ruined his career. That's unfortunate, as everything else I've heard, indicates that Arbuckle was a friendly man; Buster Keaton said he was "a truly jolly fat man". Moreover, he was one of the key pioneers in forming screen comedy; his name is right up there with Chaplin, Keaton, Max Linder, Mack Sennett and Hal Roach.

Yet, Arbuckle's comedy was less advanced, or refined, than Chaplin's burlesque. Like Chaplin, he had rid his films of much of the frenetic style of Sennett's Keystone, where the two both began their movie careers. But, while Chaplin was adding pathos and satire to his films at this time, while giving extended time to a fewer number of more elaborated gags, Arbuckle's humor remained very broad and retained the sketchy, knockabout gags of Keystone. "Moonshine" is no exception, yet those antics can still be funny enough, and this particular two-reel short is curious and, I think, especially funny because in it Arbuckle breaks down the fourth wall.

Some of the best comedies of the early silent period are parodies, from the one's that spoof a particular film ("Burlesque on Carmen", for example) or films of a single filmmaker ("Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life") to those that mimic the business of making movies ("Behind the Screen"). "Moonshine" is of the latter, but rather than being a behind-the-scenes type of film taking an inside look at film-making at a studio (of which Arbuckle had been in a few already), it pokes fun at movies and movie-making by itself being disassembled. "Moonshine" has its storyline, but the humor is in and the film is about disrupting that storyline to comment on and ridicule the film itself and the film-making process that goes into making it and other such productions. My favorite joke is when Arbuckle breaks down the fourth wall to explain to another character the reason for the implausibility of a plot turn: "Look, this is only a two-reeler. We don't have time to build up to love scenes."

Most of the self-referential humor, or self-parody, is in the intertitles. The film could have used more visual breaking down of the fourth wall, which could have been accomplished simply with a wink at the camera, for example. The print is also in poor shape, although I thought the flickering monkey climbing shot interesting as a result. Nevertheless, "Moonshine" is an interesting early effort at this kind of self-referential humor. And, it's considerably different from Anita Loos's scenarios and intertitles for Douglas Fairbanks comedies, some of which (such as "The Mystery of the Leaping Fish" and "Wild and Woolly") deconstructed in similar ways and with comical results, but not consistently throughout the picture as in "Moonshine". Aggrandizing upon this tradition, Buster Keaton, who costars in this and many other Arbuckle shorts, would make even wittier and more elaborated reflexive films, such as "The Playhouse" and "Sherlock, Jr."


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