The king is a juvenile dolt who tries the patience of the shrewish queen. While she's in the throne room awaiting him, he's outside playing with guns, drilling his soldiers, and dallying ...
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The king is a juvenile dolt who tries the patience of the shrewish queen. While she's in the throne room awaiting him, he's outside playing with guns, drilling his soldiers, and dallying with the wife of a new minister. The queen catches him kissing her, her husband figures out that something fishy is going on, and the king tries his best to proceed with his plans for a night out. The queen contrives to keep him cuffed in the bedroom: king, queen, minister, and coquette end up in a game of musical beds. Will his royal highness get his night out? Written by
I completely agree with the review by "lowbrowstudio". I absolutely do not understand the criticisms of this movie. It is hysterical. The more i think about it, the funnier it seems to me, and every time I re-watch it (I've seen it about 5 times now) it actually seems even funnier than the time before.
Thelma Todd is stunning, and shows herself to be a superb comedienne in her own right and an excellent comic partner for Langdon. All the supporting actors are funny. The sets and production-values are striking, with what looks to be a cast of at least a hundred in the opening shots, and huge sets both indoors and outside. And Langdon is at his peak. He still looks exactly like the Little Elf of the silent movies, and has plenty of energy.
The idea that Langdon was lost in the world of scripts and talking pictures is an idiotic myth promulgated by James Agee. And the idea that Langdon lost the magic of his persona in his sound movies is a canard derived from reading too much and thinking too little (and perhaps a deficient sense of the absurd?). Notably, in his book on Langdon, William Schelly makes a lot of negative observations that are so utterly inaccurate that I have to question whether or not he ever actually SAW the films he was criticizing.
So, to be completely at odds with all the authors who have commented about Langdon working best in silence, I think his voice and all his little improvised verbal infantalisms add a whole new layer of personality to his character, as well as being extremely funny. Hal Roach must have been deaf and dumb (REALLY dumb) at the time he said that Langdon "wasn't so funny articulate." I think Langdon is incredibly effective in sound.
This film is as funny and continuously amusing to me as any true classic like Laurel & Hardy's "Brats" or Charley Chase's "Movie Night". And it is also BETTER than many of Langdon's own silent shorts (I've seen all of them that are known to exist). In fact, it has more life and laughs than most of his BEST silent shorts.
Just to slap some sense into myself, I re-watched all the 1920s shorts on the DVD set "Harry Langdon, Lost and Found". I wanted to get a tangible feel for how his "classic work" compared to the Hal Roach talkies and vice versa.
Now, maybe it's partly the goofy, and sometimes creepy and inappropriate music by the Snark Ensemble, but I rarely laughed and at times felt a little unresponsive to what I was watching. "Boobs in the Woods", "Feet of Mud" and "The Luck O' The Foolish" held my attention the best.
The finest of these movies have stories that are well thought-out with real dramatic sweep, meaningful climaxes, strong character-building and well-planned endings, all of which results in a very satisfying movie experience. But they are also sometimes a little TOO much of all this, and are a bit hard to sit through. I yearned for the music, sound effects, voices and dialogue, and the non-stop jokes of the Hal Roach talking films.
"The King" may not have the architecture of a classically-constructed comedy narrative, but it is ALIVE. It's like watching a roller-coaster ride. I also find myself laughing all the way through it, and I laugh to myself even now whenever I reflect about how absurd it all is. What do you NEED from a short, funny movie, anyway?
Of course this short does not have the purposeful narrative of the silent "Fiddlesticks", but it is NOT THAT KIND OF A FILM. This is a vignette, a slice of life, a Saroyan ( well, maybe that's going a bit too far, BUT it is that style ). And it's way funnier than "Fiddlesticks".
So why would I recommend this short to anyone? Why on earth not?? It's Harry Langdon and Thelma Todd at their best, and it's relentlessly fast and funny.
By whatever means, try to find this movie. Let's hope someday someone releases pristine prints of all the Hal Roach shorts; and, too, that ALL of Langdon's movies can be made available in high-quality prints. I will bet there are some other gems out there.
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