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His Private Life (1926)

Passed  -  Comedy | Short  -  16 May 1926 (USA)
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Reggie Hemingway is a rich broker who continually bullies his valet. World War I breaks out and the valet enlists immediately. Reggie goes to the army later and arrives at the training camp... See full summary »

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(as William Goodrich)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Lupino Lane ...
Reggy Hemingway
Virginia Vance ...
His Fiancee
George Davis ...
His Valet
Glen Cavender ...
The Colonel
Wallace Lupino ...
An Army Cook
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Storyline

Reggie Hemingway is a rich broker who continually bullies his valet. World War I breaks out and the valet enlists immediately. Reggie goes to the army later and arrives at the training camp to find that his valet is now a tough sergeant in charge of the recruits. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Genres:

Comedy | Short

Certificate:

Passed
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Release Date:

16 May 1926 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Squeeze that hosepipe!
28 April 2006 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

Lupino Lane (born Henry Lupino) was a prominent member of the distinguished Lupino family of clowns and actors who have performed on London's stages for more than three centuries. (Yes, Ida Lupino was a member of that family too ... and I'm pleased to report that the family are still performing.) In addition to being a gifted comedian, Lupino Lane was a skilled acrobat, and he used his acrobatic talents brilliantly in the service of slapstick comedy. Lane easily takes his rightful place alongside fellow silent-film comedians Buster Keaton and Clyde Cook: they are the three greatest acrobats of slapstick. (I would put Al St John a notch lower: unlike Keaton, Cook and Lane, Al St John never mastered any of the more advanced acrobatic manoeuvres such as a tinsika or a shoulder kip. Even Gene Kelly could do a shoulder kip!) Among his many, many acrobatic tricks, Lane was able to spin round on the top of his head like a break dancer!

Lupino Lane's career peaked on stage, in the West End musical 'Me and My Girl'. Earlier, however, he starred in some low-budget American silent comedy shorts. Lane had the great asset of Roscoe Arbuckle (post-scandal) pseudonymously scripting and directing Lane's films.

In his short films, Lane often played a fop with a monocle and a prominent spit curl. I detest this character's appearance on sight, and I suspect that this was Lane's intention. Whereas Chaplin's Little Tramp was calculated to steal the audience's sympathy, Lane and Keaton often played wealthy idiots who had to EARN the audience's sympathy.

Lane's starring short 'His Private Life' is one of his funniest films. (By coincidence, he later played a supporting role in a feature with the same title.) Here, Lane is the gormless scion of a wealthy family, who rejoices in the name Reggie Hemingway. Did scriptwriter Roscoe Arbuckle think there was something funny about the name Hemingway? His hilarious film 'Curses!', also made about this time, features a hero named Rodney Hemingway.

Reggie makes a right berk of himself in the business world, alienating his father's secretary Oscar (George Davis, a near-lookalike to Fernandel) and getting the man sacked. A pretty girl demonstrates her penchant for men in uniforms. To impress her, Reggie enlists. In one of those convenient silent-film coincidences, Private Hemingway (as Reggie now is) discovers that his new drill sergeant is Oscar, ready and eager to make Reggie's life sheer hell.

Every frame of this movie is hilarious. My only regret is that the hosepipe sequence resorts to special effects to enable Lane to perform some 'impossible' gags which any fourth-rate comedian such as Billy Franey could have done just as effectively. Lane's brilliant acrobatic skills enabled him to achieve (with NO fakery) slapstick gags that no other comedian could have performed: not even the great Buster Keaton. and Lane should have concentrated on his own considerable strengths instead of cheap sight gags.

I agree with the point previously made by IMDb reviewer Bob Lipton, who noted that this film benefits from its excellent photography and wide-open exteriors. Arbuckle was a courageous and innovative director who avoided the usual 'formulas' of comedy direction, and this movie benefits strongly from his talents. I'll rate the very funny 'His Private Life' 9 out of 10.


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