An appreciative, uncritical look at silent film comedies and thrillers from early in the century through the 1920s. It starts with a 1905 look at French comedy, goes through the 1910s with ... See full summary »
Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle,
Two wealthy Victorian widows are courted tentatively by two impoverished British aristocrats. When one of the dowagers suggests that her beau go away with her for a month to see if they are compatible, the fireworks begin.
American showgirl Suzy is in London in 1914. She loves Irish inventor Terry who works for an engineering firm owned by a German woman. After their marriage Terry is murdered and Suzy flees ... See full summary »
Performer Ken Murray first arrived in Hollywood in 1927 a relative unknown from his then hometown of Kingston, New York. Instead of sending postcards of Hollywood back to his family, he ... See full summary »
William Powell plays William Foster, a slick attorney who stays within the law, but specializes in representing crooks and shady characters. He's adept at keeping them out of jail, winning ... See full summary »
Jerry Long and Jane Worth are heirs to an abandoned mining town. Judge Drake knows there is gold there and wants them to sell. He plans to scare Jane and has hired Jerry, not knowing his ... See full summary »
This well-meant but misleading compilation celebrates the glory days of silent film comedy, for the most part through mediocre excerpts from the Max Sennett and Hal Roach Studios, which even at their peak could never match the sophistication of a Chaplin, Lloyd, or Keaton two-reeler. The repertory of Sennett and Roach gags rarely extended beyond mild parody, primitive slapstick, and artificial trick effects, giving an entirely false but lasting impression of silent comedy as nothing but frantic pratfalls and pie fights. The exception here is Laurel and Hardy, whose deliberate methods of wreaking mayhem overturned the time honored formula of fast and furious chases. Happily, the film gives them extra attention, but the majority of footage is devoted to second-rate clowns like Billy Bevan and cross-eyed Ben Turpin. Even the great Harry Langdon is represented only in a clip from a minor Sennett short which gives little indication of his unique talents, and the enthusiastic voice-over narration underlines his lackluster antics with forced wit and too many puns.
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