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His Wooden Wedding (1925)

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A few moments before Charley is going to marry, a "friend", who is jealous, gives him an anonymous note, stating that the bride has a wooden leg. Charley cancels the wedding, but agrees to ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
The Groom
Katherine Grant ...
The Bride
Gale Henry ...
Woman on Ship
Fred DeSilva
John Cossar
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Storyline

A few moments before Charley is going to marry, a "friend", who is jealous, gives him an anonymous note, stating that the bride has a wooden leg. Charley cancels the wedding, but agrees to leave her his very expensive engagement ring. His "friend" sees his chance to get the ring and tells her otherwise. But when he tries to hide the ring in his top hat, Charley finds out that he has mistakenly taken the wrong hat - the ring is in Charley's hat. And he decides to go on a cruise. The bride, who has found out the reason for Charley's change of mind follows them on her father's yacht. Aboard the liner, Charley is fooling around with his top hat, and it takes a while, till he finds out about the hidden ring and starts wondering about the situation... Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

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Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

20 December 1925 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie rate son mariage  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
"Looking into the future"
1 May 2011 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

While slapstick luminaries Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd spent most of the 1920s in feature films, the short comedy format in which these men had started was still very popular and a consistent money maker for that premier silent comedy factory, the Hal Roach studios. Charley Chase is not a big name today, but back in the 1920s, among those who were doing shorts and not doing features, he was a front runner.

His Wooden Wedding is one of the neater, more concise Charley Chase shorts, which tended to be stuffed with gags but a little haphazard in structure. Even this one however manages to be fairly disparate in its settings, moving from a wedding ceremony to an ocean liner. Director Leo McCarey keeps things suitably silly, with lots of exaggerated bits of physical comedy that are almost cartoonish. When a suitcase is dropped onto a car, the front wheels come off. McCarey keeps that dilapidated car in the foreground like an accident waiting to happen. The gags aren't always of the highest quality he knows how to present them for best effect.

And just like the car, Charley Chase's main function in these comedies is to overreact. He is a little like that prolific supporting player Edward Everett Horton, in that his horrified expressions add a whole extra layer to the comedy. That slight turn of the head, the rigid body, the mouth in an "O" of shock, is Chase's trademark. He can crank it up depending on the level of surprise, here adding some owlish blinking when he is informed of his fiancé's wooden leg. A key sequence is the flash-forward, Charley's bizarre daydream that having a wooden leg is hereditary, and all his children will be similarly afflicted. It is on the one hand a typical bit of Roach studios absurdity, but it's also very much in keeping with Chase's comedy persona, whose responses become wildly irrational.

Charley Chase never starred in a full-length movie, which is probably the main reason he is not so well known today. Fortunately, just as we are starting to reassess the value of Chaplin's and Keaton's early work, so too are the short comedies of lesser known comedians being rediscovered. Chase is by no means as accomplished as those great comics, but at a time when Chaplin, Lloyd and Keaton were getting ever more ambitious, Chase was still managing to do some pretty funny things in a twenty-minute slot.


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