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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's comic genius makes "Seven Chances" a wildly entertaining film. The first half of it is quite good, if imperfect, but the second half is a tour-de-force of sustained humor and creativity. Keaton plays Jimmie Shannon, a young man who learns that he stands to inherit a fortune, but only if he marries by 7 PM that very day. It's the kind of goofy premise that in lesser hands could be a complete flop, but Keaton gets all kinds of possibilities out of it.
For most of the first half of the film, Jimmie is busy racing around proposing to every woman he can find. His true love, Mary, tries to find Jimmie herself, but he is already off on his frantic search for someone to accompany him to the altar. The search is always funny, at times extremely so. This first half has a handful of things that don't quite work, such as the black-faced servant (who was, though, probably intended as a sympathetic character), but if it were not for that and a couple other small details, this would be a nearly perfect film.
In the second half, all of the complications set up a frantic chase sequence, with literally hundreds (at least) of angry women pursuing Jimmie through the city, while he tries to get to Mary. This might be the best comic chase sequence ever filmed. It is hilarious and incredibly inventive, with careful choreography, a great variety of backgrounds, and a huge collection of gags both obvious and subtle. No description could do it justice - it has to be seen at least once to appreciate it.
If you are a fan of Keaton or of silent films in general, make sure to see this one.
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