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The Sex Life of the Polyp (1928)

 -  Comedy | Short  -  25 July 1928 (USA)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 192 users  
Reviews: 6 user

Dr. Benchley lectures the women's club on the unusual but important title-topic.

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(uncredited)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Benchley ...
Lecturer
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Storyline

Dr. Benchley is addressing the Ladies Club on the subject of the reproductive habits of the polyp, a small aquatic organism. Although he is not able to display his live specimens, he has prepared a series of pictures of his subjects. He explains that the subject is made more complicated by the fact that polyps are able to change their sex from time to time. Then he presents some of the pictures of his specimens and the experiments that he has done with them. Written by Snow Leopard

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Comedy | Short

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Release Date:

25 July 1928 (USA)  »

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1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Benchley first performed this routine in 1922. See more »

Quotes

Lecturer: We took one of the tiny creatures home with us to live. It was at the time a girl polyp, so we called her Mary after Ethel Barrymore. She was at first naturally shy but soon grew accustomed to our mannish ways and became more like a child of our own than a polyp - although she looked more like a polyp than a child of our own.
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Connections

Edited into Robert Benchley and the Knights of the Algonquin (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Entertainingly Offbeat, & Quite Good For Its Time
19 December 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This is an entertainingly offbeat little comedy that took some chances both with the material and with the then-new capacity of sound in the movies. Robert Benchley's imaginative writing is complemented by his equally imaginative ideas for using visuals and sound, and the result is a short feature that is quite good for the early sound era.

Benchley plays a lecturer visiting a Ladies Club, the kind of role that usually brought out the best in him, since it allows him to use a dryly amusing style that fits well with his writing. Here, the weird topic is a particularly suitable choice for Benchley's writing and speaking. The 'lecturer' also moves back-and-forth between his lectern and a display screen that shows moving pictures of his lab specimens. It's interesting both in creatively using the format and in recreating (and satirizing) the way that a thorough lecturer might well approach the subject.

Benchley's jokes and gag ideas rarely if ever try for the big laugh. Instead, he tries to build up a comic effect through the accumulation of dry and ironic comments or visuals. This is a case where it works very well, and especially so given the limited resources and experience of film-makers in the early sound era.


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