"Poker at Eight" is real vintage Charley Chase. In this short from his series at Hal Roch studios the comedian manages to make a witty, complicated farce of sorts fit comfortably into two reels. One of his specialties was taking an outlandish premise and elaborating his day-to-day consequences to make hilarious social comedy. Here he's a husband who's normally under his wife's thumb but who thinks he's developed the ability to hypnotize people. It turns out his wife only pretends to be hypnotized into being a "good fellow" and makes him jealous, seeming to head out for a night on the town while he makes the titular poker game.
The gag construction and plot twists are very funny here -- my favorite moment involving Charley having to carry a zither around with him for no good reason. Constance Bergen does a very good job as Charley's wife; she seems to have appeared in little more than a couple of other Chase shorts and a few smaller roles in Westerns, but here she's very funny making the transition between stern housewife and stern housewife-pretending-to-be-good-time-girl.
This a good example of the kind of sophisticated comedy Charley Chase could produce while still engaging in the kind of visual humor that has him hiding from police officers in a bright raincoat on a clear night. It's also a very funny watch.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?