|Index||3 reviews in total|
This is an early directorial credit for Richard Fleischer, a fine
director of film noir. He spent the last ten years of his life working
to get the early, unappreciated work of his father and uncle, silent
cartoons like Ko-Ko the Clown and early sound cartoons like Betty Boop,
available for people who could see how great they are. Ad here he is,
making fun of other early film makers' work. Well, it was a job.
This "stitch together early silent movies and make fun of them" genre of shorts was something most of the studios did. The best of the lot was the Goofy Movie series from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which had the advantage of Pete Smith's snarky narration. The rest fall into the "Our grandparents were dumb" viewpoint. It's an attitude that persists to the present day, particularly in the fine arts. Certainly it's good for new artists to have something to say that hasn't been said before in that particular way, but the attitude shown here quickly becomes tiresome; at least, it becomes tiresome when art you grew up with gets the same treatment.
Eventually, if the art is really good, it gets a further reappraisal. Here's my reappraisal of this movie: it's poor; far worse than the movies it makes fun of.
Spoiler if you believe the two films shown in this short are "His Desperate Deed"(1915) and "The Prospector's Daughter" (1912). TCM ran MAKE MINE MEMORIES (revised title of FLICKER FLASHBACKS) early on September 30, 2013. The heroine in both films is Blanche Sweet as stated by the narrator, but Blanche is not in either of the reported films. A check of her credits on the IMDb reveals that the first film with Harry Carey and Henry Walthall is "Broken Ways" (1913) and the second with Dorothy Bernard and Charles West is "The Goddess of Sagebrush Gulch" (1912). In any case the snippets are interesting to see movie making in comparatively primitive times; and it is interesting to see one of the early screen "goddesses" in action.
Flicker Flashbacks No. 3, Series 2 (1945)
* (out of 4)
Ward Wilson narrates this "comedy" that takes clips from two silent movies and tries to make them funny. THE PROSPECTOR'S DAUGHTER and HIS DESPERATE DEED are the films in question here and I think it's fair to say they both look a lot more interesting without the added narration. I'm a silent film fan but I'm not so uptight where I'm going to be offended by someone trying to make fun of them. There were several series that did this and Pete Smith could usually get a few laughs but that's not the case here because this thing is just downright dreadful from start to finish. Not a single line of dialogue is funny and not once did I even crack a smile. I can see this type of short being made in the 30s as silents were still in people's mind but I can't help but think that this thing would just come off as odd in 1945. I'm really not sure what the point was but it's clearly one of the worst shorts I've seen on Turner Classic Movies. This was directed by the same man who would later bring us 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, MR. MAJESTYK and SOYLENT GREEN so it proves everyone must start somewhere.
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