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Rowland V. Lee
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There is no reliable documentation that any film bearing this title was produced or released at this time; it was never reviewed in Moving Picture World, never copyrighted, does not appear ... See full summary »
Mr. Snavely, a Yukon prospector, lost his only son years ago to the temptations of the big city; now the prodigal Chester, released from prison, comes home to Ma and Pa. A parody of Yukon melodrama; includes the famous looking-out-the-door routine. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I first saw this send-up of "the prodigal son" in a film course. I think my teacher and I were the only 2 people laughing. I was astonished that a film that looks like it was filmed in a garage could make my face hurt. It has a wonderfully screwy story arc, and corny gags. It's all over the place and ends abruptly, but I love it.
The Vaudeville origins of some corny bits (the snow gag) amuse. Other motifs of the period are not worthy of inclusion, but what little writing there is makes me laugh as hard as anything recent. Fields' hogwash title ditty is pretty terrific. I especially love a few of the sight gags, including a runt of a dog on a sled team, a leggy salvation army gal, and W.C. calling for Lena the elk. The sound quality is heinous, but the arbitrary scene changes relieve some of the tedium and claustrophobia of other Fields shorts (The Golf Specialist).
It mocks everything in sight; staginess, melodrama, piety, propriety, actors who mispronounce words. I don't know that there any other 18 minutes of film make me smile as much as this ridiculous little movie.
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