Up 31,278 this week

Isn't Life Terrible? (1925)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Short  |  5 July 1925 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 170 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 4 critic

Charley is plagued with failure and with his brother-in-law, who's allergic to labor. When he decides to take the family on a camping trip, his wife learns about a contest sponsored by a ... See full summary »


0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

IMDb Picks: April

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in April.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 10 titles
created 29 Oct 2010
a list of 2744 titles
created 13 Aug 2011
a list of 9998 titles
created 19 Apr 2012
a list of 99 titles
created 25 Dec 2013
a list of 1834 titles
created 8 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Isn't Life Terrible? (1925)

Isn't Life Terrible? (1925) on IMDb 6.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Isn't Life Terrible?.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Lucky Dog (1921)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

In their first screen appearance together, Stan plays a penniless dog lover and Oliver plays a crook who tries to rob him and his new paramour.

Director: Jess Robbins
Stars: Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel, Florence Gilbert
Limelight (1952)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A fading comedian and a suicidally despondent ballet dancer must look to each other to find meaning and hope in their lives.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Claire Bloom, Nigel Bruce
Dog Shy (1926)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Charley is afraid of dogs, and one chases him into a phone box, which a stuffy aristocrat has just left to get more change, to continue the phone call with his fiancée, who is being forced ... See full summary »

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Charley Chase, Stuart Holmes, Mildred June
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Two rich capitalists want to marry their children, but they don't like the idea at all. She tries to run away, and meets him at the station. They fall in love, unbeknownst to their real ... See full summary »

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Charley Chase, Oliver Hardy, William V. Mong
Short | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After waking up from his wacky dream, a theater stage hand inadvertently causes havoc everywhere he works.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Edward F. Cline, Monte Collins
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Charley Chase, Martha Sleeper, Charles A. Bachman
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young man puts on the play "Romeo and Juliet" as a fundraiser, but has to keep a close eye on his dad, who's had several drinks too many, and a pesky cab driver who's determined to collect his fare.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Charley Chase, Oliver Hardy, Corliss Palmer
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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 »

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Charley Chase, Katherine Grant, Gale Henry
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An American book salesman (Lloyd) is persuaded to go to the kingdom of Thermosa to impersonate the Prince. He is greeted by a peasants' revolt before the real prince shows up to claim his ... See full summary »

Director: Hal Roach
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, 'Snub' Pollard
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Jimmy Jump is a coward. Everyone and everything makes him afraid. He cowers from the neighborhood children, even though he's old enough to be their father. He is terrified of Lem Tucker, ... See full summary »

Director: James Parrott
Stars: Charley Chase, Beth Darlington, Earl Mohan
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Suburban neighbors (Lloyd and Pollard) join together to build a garden shed, but through carelessness, wind up ruining the garden, as well as the laundry, which is drying in the yard. ... See full summary »

Directors: Harold Lloyd, Frank Terry
Stars: Harold Lloyd, Bebe Daniels, 'Snub' Pollard
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Ignoring her father's attempts to counsel her, a young woman races off to a sale at a store. Chased by a motorcycle policeman, she eventually wins him over with the help of a friendly ... See full summary »

Director: James Parrott
Stars: Charley Chase, Oliver Hardy, Martha Sleeper


Complete credited cast:
The Husband
Katherine Grant ...
The Wife
Remington - the Brother-in-Law (as 'Babe' Hardy)
Lon Poff ...
Mr. Jolly


Charley is plagued with failure and with his brother-in-law, who's allergic to labor. When he decides to take the family on a camping trip, his wife learns about a contest sponsored by a pen company, with the first prize being an ocean trip. To win the prize Charley has to sell those pens - surprisingly he wins, but the ship turns out to be a wreck on it's last trip to the scrapyard. To make things worse they accidentally leave their young daughter on the dock and the ship sails without her. What else can go wrong on this trip? Written by Stephan Eichenberg <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Short


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 July 1925 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(2005 alternate)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Except for Charley Chase, whose name appears above the title, there is no cast list. Actors are introduced by inter-title cards just before they appear on the screen. The IMDb cast list therefore uses this "order of appearance" sequence. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"All things come to he who waits"
30 April 2011 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

Although slapstick heroes such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy remain household names even today, they were only the front runners among dozens of silent comics, most of whom are now forgotten. A lot of them of course weren't very good in the first place. You also get someone like Harry Langdon who is remembered better than he ought to be simply because he made feature-length movies, two of which were directed by Frank Capra. And then there is Charley Chase, who only ever made short comedies, never graduating onto features, and yet he was very popular in his day, and deserving of more recognition now. Isn't Life Terrible?, one of his finest two-reelers, demonstrates why.

Chase isn't one of the more athletic slapstick comics as Chaplin, Keaton and Harold Lloyd were. In fact, you can see a few of his "stunts" here are sewn up with camera trickery, such as when he leaps off his deckchair onto the ceiling. But Chase is a great reactor, a master of the brilliantly-timed double take. His horrified or bemused expressions are sometimes enough to make some of the more pedestrian gags laugh-out-loud funny. Unlike shy romantics Chaplin and Lloyd, Chase often played the put-upon family man, the kind of figure we now know very well from modern sitcoms but quite a rarity in silent comedy. Chase had the right demeanour for this niche, and the right capacity for consternation to make it funny. For this short, he is supported by a pre-"Laurel and Hardy" Oliver Hardy. The character Hardy plays is a workshy buffoon, a little different to his familiar persona but still one he can manage. One might expect him to upstage Chase, but he doesn't. And this isn't because Hardy is bad, it's just that Charley Chase is good enough to carry the picture himself.

A major contributing factor to Isn't Life Terrible? is that the director is Leo McCarey, later an Oscar winner for his dramas, but at this point a key man at the Hal Roach studios. McCarey's formula for comedy direction was often to push an idea to the point of absurdity. Take the opening scene, where Chase twice has a chicken thrown over his fence, twice throws it back, and then suddenly has about a dozen chickens come plopping over at once. This doesn't make much sense, and it's not even clear who's throwing the birds, but it's a funny bit of nonsense all the same. Like Chaplin, McCarey is often puts his characters in the background and has the chaos they cause in the foreground, such as when Chase hurls a suitcase on top of a car, only to have it crashing down on the other side, in front of the camera. Our distance from the players makes it look more like some street scene we have inadvertently witnessed, and much funnier as a result. And although the pace of Isn't Life Terrible? is quite fast, McCarey isn't afraid to let things play out slowly if needed, for example Chase and co.'s stunned response as their trunk is accidentally dumped in the sea.

The only major weak spot to Isn't Life Terrible? is its story and structure. The sudden switch half-way through from Charley selling fountain pens to taking his family on a cruise makes it look as if two separate story ideas have been awkwardly spliced. The linking device of Charley winning the cruise by selling the most pens doesn't makes sense because, as we are shown, he isn't a very good salesman. And it's important for comedy to be well-plotted. After all, Chaplin only really took off when he started developing his little sketches into meaningful comic stories. What saves Isn't Life Terrible? is that sense of the ridiculous that Chase and McCarey had, that ability to build funny business out of nothing very much. This was a real advantage of the Roach studios, where there wasn't some all-controlling writer-director-star, and everyone in the team was welcome to throw in their ideas. There are dozens of blink-and-miss-it sight gags to watch out for here, and although Chase lacks the spark of genius, not to mention the ambition of his better-known contemporaries, he is undoubtedly a professional comedian who knows how to keep us laughing.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Isn't Life Terrible? (1925) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: