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Take a Chance (1918)

A man who goes by the name The Sport decides where he wants to spend his last twenty-five cents. He chases the girl he's infatuated with, and encounters colorful characters along the way.

Director:

(as Alf Goulding)
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
The Sport
...
Simplex Joe (as Harry Pollard)
...
The Hired Girl
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sammy Brooks
Harry Burns
Billy Fay
James A. Fitzgerald
Lew Harvey
Wallace Howe
Dee Lampton
William Petterson
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Storyline

A man who goes by the name The Sport decides where he wants to spend his last twenty-five cents. He chases the girl he's infatuated with, and encounters colorful characters along the way.

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Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Release Date:

15 December 1918 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This short is included in the Criterion Blu-ray of "Safety Last" with option of audio commentary by Harold Lloyd archivist Richard Correll and film writer John Bengston. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A misstep of an introduction
9 October 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Take a Chance is a landmark in not Lloyd's filmography but silent cinema in general, as one of the era's most recognizable characters was born. Take a Chance was the first film that had Lloyd adopt his signature "glasses" character, the goofy but lovable character who always found a way to get involved in sticky situations. Unfortunately, the short feels very much half-baked, almost as if Lloyd was more excited for the potential of his character that he threw together a short so that he could have something of an introduction rather than a competent project.

The short is a classic love story about Lloyd's character falling in love with a particular woman and finding ways to lose her and have himself succumb to bitter jealousy because of the man she's really in love with. Even for the early days of film, this seems like standard fare. At any rate, the short does have one great scene, which comes early in the one-reeler, where Lloyd is riding in the back seat of a vehicle, with his crush in the passenger seat and her particular lover driving (played by the likes of Bebe Daniels and 'Snub' Pollard, respectively, Lloyd's go-to characters of the era). The scene involves Lloyd mixing ways with both characters, either by kissing his lover or slapping her lover, causing a front-seat dispute amongst the two characters, with Lloyd sitting back and appearing innocent. This is a classic in silent film setups, and gives the "glasses" character a mischievous side, introducing him rather effectively.

Take a Chance, however, spirals downhill because of its major concern with trying to drum up slapstick humor and ridiculous setups rather than establish wit or character investment. There's nothing wrong with slapstick comedy but, unless you have great performers or circumstances that find a way to subvert themselves, you're basically poking and prodding schtick until it becomes overbearing and dry, which is what happens here. Nonetheless, more fun would be had when Lloyd found more interesting and exhilarating things to do with his newfound character in the next chapter of his particular career.

Starring: Harold Lloyd, 'Snub' Pollard, and Bebe Daniels. Directed by: Alfred J. Goulding.


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