In this two-reeler, Jimmy Jump wants to please both of his parents, but they disagree about everything. His father wants him to act more manly, although Jimmy gets his sensitivity from his ... See full summary »
In this two-reeler, Jimmy Jump wants to please both of his parents, but they disagree about everything. His father wants him to act more manly, although Jimmy gets his sensitivity from his mother. He wants to wed his girlfriend, and so accepts a job at his father's iron foundry, but does not excel there. Next, Jimmy goes to a tough dance-hall to impress his girl. A highlight is his parody of an Isadora Duncan dance. Written by
Fiona Kelleghan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Bad Boy" was only Charley Chase's second regular two-reeler after he had come off starring in a successful. innovative, and hilarious series of one-reel comedies. This early in his two-reel comedies the theme is one that had been a staple of Chase's one-reelers: he's a wimpy rich man who must toughen up. Immediately it's clear that Chase has literally 100% space to work with, as his character goes to work in steel yard and there is plenty of time for clever and slightly isolated gags around the theme of Charley's aristocratic character in this setting, bringing a fancy car, using contrivances to do his work for him, and setting elaborate place settings for his lunch, and all the while trying to fit in. This makes it a perceptive and interesting class comedy too.
This early he also demonstrates a rare sense for the two-reel medium. The threads of his rich background and girlfriend along with the fey dance his mother convinces him to do (admittedly rather randomly) dovetailing nicely into a great payoff with Charley discovered as not the "Bad Boy" gangster he claims to be in the dance club. While he brings the elements all in together, they do leave an impression of having been disparate beforehand -- kind of a smörgåsbord of Chase elements, with absurd comedy of humiliation when Charley must dress in drag moving right into the danger and social confusion in the club.
The incredibly cute Martha Sleeper is Charley's leading lady here, and I love her in these films. She doesn't just look pretty (although she manages that quite well) but contributes on her own with lots of funny charming pixie-like gestures. She and Charley do a skilled and entertaining dance routine that seems to me like the best silent equivalent of the songs that Chase would pleasingly insert into many of his later sound shorts.
A very funny short, as well as a glimpse at the ambition that Charley Chase had starting his own series of two-reel comedies and doing so with a plot as difficult to unite at the end as he can.
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