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Financial broker Jimmie Shannon is nearly bankrupt when an attorney presents grandfather's will leaving him seven million dollars. In order to inherit the money Jimmie must marry before 7 pm on his 27th birthday - today! Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Buster Keaton had this project foisted upon him by producer Joseph M. Schenck, who had bought the rights to the hit Broadway show. Keaton later called it his least favorite feature and tried to keep film historian Raymond Rohauer from restoring the only known copy of the movie. See more »
Mary's note changes slightly between the time she writes it and the time Jimmie reads it. See more »
Seven Chances is one of Buster Keaton's comedic masterpieces from the mid-1920's. It has been beautifully restored by Kino for both the VHS and DVD versions, with a lovely compilation of an attractive musical score by Robert Israel; a technicolor beginning, and tints. A most enjoyable film, and worth every dime if you buy it. Look for a young, pert Jean Arthur in a bit part as the secretary, without her customary blond curls.
Jimmie (Buster Keaton) is a young stockbroker who has gotten into financial difficulties with his partner Billy. When Jimmie learns a rich grandfather has died and left him 7 million dollars in his will it looks like Jimmie's troubles may be over. But there is a catch: Jimmie must marry by 7pm on the evening of his 27th birthday, which is the same day he is notified of the possible windfall. He asks his girlfriend Mary to marry him, and she says yes, but then he bungles the proposal when he tells her the reason why he must marry her "today". No girl likes to think she is being married just to obtain a fortune, and Mary spurns Jimmie.
This leads to Jimmie's partner Billy convincing him he must marry "some girl", since he owes it to their friendship and partnership to obtain the money to salvage their business. The madness then ensues, where Jimmie proposes to every female in sight, including famous female impersonator Julian Eltinge.
The second half of the film is Buster's brainchild entirely, and will have you laughing non-stop, as Jimmie escapes the wrath of an entire city of thwarted brides, who all wanted a shot at his 7 million and were denied. The most famous shots are the running-down-the-mountains-with-the-boulders-chasing-you scenes, invented by Buster, but there are many other deliciously funny moments as well, and a suitable, happy ending, complete with a Dalmation's kisses.
See Seven Chances before you pass on. You owe it to yourself. :)
One final note: a previous commentator here wrote that Buster did not care for his Seven Chances. That is not quite true. The business situation surrounding the planning of the film did not suit him, since the vehicle was chosen for him by Joseph Schenck, and he preferred to do his own material, but Buster did have creative control over the 2nd half of the film, and it shows. When the film was restored and re-shown starting in the 1960's, before his death, Buster Keaton was able to realize how much of a crowd pleaser this film was, and he changed his mind about it. If you are a student of the 1920's and love comedy, you will find lots to love in Seven Chances. It's sweet.
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