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The First 100 Years (1924)

7.1
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A man saves his lady love from Black Mike then comes wedded bliss. He hires a cook, who's brusque, domineering, and constantly smoking a cigar. Out of the blue, the couple gets a visit from... See full summary »

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Title: The First 100 Years (1924)

The First 100 Years (1924) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
Harry Langdon ...
Mr. Newlywed
Alice Day ...
Mrs. Newlywed
Frank J. Coleman ...
Roland Stone aka Willie Cheatham (as Frank Coleman)
Louise Carver ...
Phillie Mignon - First Cook
Madeline Hurlock ...
Miss Gainsborough aka Lydia Winkerton - Second Cook
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Storyline

A man saves his lady love from Black Mike then comes wedded bliss. He hires a cook, who's brusque, domineering, and constantly smoking a cigar. Out of the blue, the couple gets a visit from his old friend, Roland Stone, bluff and portly. Roland befriends our newly-wed's wife, and this friendship deepens after the husband hires a new cook, the lovely Miss Gainsborough, who gives her boss a little too much friendly attention. That night, a prowler skulks, Miss Gainsborough faints, the newly-wed husband comes to her rescue, and she grabs him and holds on. His wife is offended and determines to leave with Roland. Is the marriage over? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

17 August 1924 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The First 100 Years  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

A plate wobbles after it is thrown into the cupboard by Annie (suggesting a reverse process). See more »

Connections

Edited into When Comedy Was King (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

 
At long last this comedy—most of it, anyway—can be enjoyed again
15 April 2008 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

Thanks to the efforts of dedicated film restoration experts several of Harry Langdon's early short comedies have been painstakingly recovered, cleaned up, and pieced back together again for home viewing. Until very recently, Langdon's two-reel short THE FIRST 100 YEARS could be seen only in the form of brief, tantalizing excerpts in Robert Youngson's 1960 compilation WHEN COMEDY WAS KING. The new Langdon DVD set features a 13-minute version of this film, which means that some footage is still missing, but on the bright side this represents about two-thirds of the original movie, far more than has been available for many years. Happily, the surviving material gives a full sense of the storyline and includes a lot of good moments for Harry and his supporting players. In its restored version the film stands with the best of Langdon's early work for the Mack Sennett Studio.

The opening sequence is set high on a cliff overlooking crashing sea waves, and what follows is so off-the-wall we assume it will surely turn out to be a daydream or hallucination on somebody's part: Harry plays the stalwart hero of a melodrama, bravely defending the leading lady from "Black Mike," a top-hatted villain. There's a fight and Harry lands a hay-maker on Mike's jaw, causing the villain to sail off the cliff and fall to a distant ledge—though he immediately jumps up and shouts threats at Harry, shaking his fist as he hops up and down! "And then came wedded bliss," the title card informs us, and we realize that this prologue was intended as some kind of shorthand metaphor to explain how Harry won his girl from a rival. (Or perhaps it was just meant to be funny?) The newlyweds have to wash their own dishes until the arrival of their new cook, a formidable-looking gorgon played by Louise Carver, who looks like her previous job may have been as a guard at a women's prison. She quickly takes over the joint and bosses her employers. Harry's problems mount when an "old friend" of his arrives and immediately starts flirting with his wife. Unfortunately this is where the footage gets a little choppy, but there's a great bit where Harry tries to intimidate Louise with a newly-acquired bulldog, who takes one look at her and heads for the hills. Indignant, Louise quits the household, only to be replaced by slinky Madeline Hurlock, a dark-eyed beauty who wastes no time vamping the master of the house. When she kneels before him and massages his feet Harry's wife is taken aback, but Harry looks quite pleased with the new help.

The second half of the film turns into a haunted house comedy, as a storm blows in and the newlyweds find their home filled with mysterious bearded men in black who pop out of unexpected places. (Silent comedy buffs may be reminded of the later Charley Bowers short THERE IT IS, which takes this sort of craziness and multiplies it to the tenth power.) Eventually we learn the true identity of Harry's "old friend," the new cook, and all those bearded guys. Apparently the original finale is missing, but the surviving footage ends with a gag which serves to wrap up the plot on an amusing note, so at least this restoration doesn't cut off in mid-scene. Even in abbreviated form, THE FIRST 100 YEARS is an enjoyable viewing experience and a nice addition to the Harry Langdon canon.

P.S. There is some controversy about whether Harry's wife in this film is played by Alice Day, who is billed in the credits, or her lookalike sister Marceline, best known as Buster Keaton's leading lady in THE CAMERAMAN. According to the commentary track on the DVD Marceline substituted for her sister at the last minute, but Alice was nonetheless erroneously credited in the film and its publicity material. This casting mystery will provide an extra element of interest for buffs who wish to guess which Day sister is actually in the movie: Alice? Marceline? You be the judge!


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