It was a simpler time at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the movies were silent except for the musicians playing at each individual theater for each show. The "non-existent" silent movie presented is W.W. Weatherstrip's "Passion of Horse-Pistol Pete", the story of a love triangle between Horse-Pistol Pete, Cafeteria Kate and Sheriff Dan, the clash between the two men on the opposite sides of the law, and Kate's reaction to what happens between the men. Despite the seriousness of the picture, Elmer the chimpanzee always manages to steal the show. Written by
I saw "Flicker Memories" as part of the special features on "The Big Store" DVD, and it's a tribute to it that in just 8 minutes of running time it has some gags that are funnier than the majority of those in that particular Marx Brothers movie! Pete Smith spoofs the conventions and the acting styles of early silent films; this was more daring then than it would be now, if you remember that "talkies" were only 14 years old when "Flicker Memories" was made. Many of his jabs are spot-on, particularly at the exaggerated reactions of the actors in their efforts to depict emotions without dialogue. Of course this short is too, well, short to be worth seeking out on its own, but if you get the chance to see it, you shouldn't pass it up. *** out of 4.
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