6.7/10
197
9 user 4 critic

Isn't Life Terrible? (1925)

Passed | | Comedy, Short | 5 July 1925 (USA)
Charley is plagued with failure and with his brother-in-law, who's allergic to labor. When he decides to take the family on a camping trip, his wife learns about a contest sponsored by a ... See full summary »

Director:

(uncredited)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Sweet Daddy (1924)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Charley Chase, Westcott Clarke, Jules Mendel
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A few moments before Charley is going to marry, a "friend", who is jealous, gives him an anonymous note, stating that the bride has a wooden leg. Charley cancels the wedding, but agrees to ... See full summary »

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Charley Chase, Katherine Grant, Gale Henry
Dog Shy (1926)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Charley is afraid of dogs, and one chases him into a phone box, which a stuffy aristocrat has just left to get more change, to continue the phone call with his fiancée, who is being forced ... See full summary »

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Charley Chase, Stuart Holmes, Mildred June
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When Stan and Ollie trick their wives into thinking that they are taking a medicinal cruise while they're actually going to a convention, the wives find out the truth the hard way.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charley Chase
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Two rich capitalists want to marry their children, but they don't like the idea at all. She tries to run away, and meets him at the station. They fall in love, unbeknownst to their real ... See full summary »

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Charley Chase, Oliver Hardy, William V. Mong
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Despite his faithfulness, Melvin is always under suspicion by wife Mame. Complications erupt when a woman from a party across the hall passes out in Melvin's bedroom just before Mame returns.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Charley Chase, Katherine Grant, Jane Sherman
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A politically ambitious district attorney, unscrupulous tabloid journalists, and regional prejudice combine to charge a teacher with the murder of his student.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Claude Rains, Gloria Dickson, Edward Norris
Sure-Mike! (1925)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Vermuda, a saleswoman in a department store, is very late for work. She relies on a ruse to fool the floorwalker, and when that doesn't work, she relies on her friendship with the store ... See full summary »

Director: Fred Guiol
Stars: Martha Sleeper, James Finlayson, William Gillespie
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Finlayson plays an intrepid army cameraman on the battlefield in the world war, and Rowe plays his hapless assistant. Cranking away in no man's land, they take foolish chances and must ... See full summary »

Director: Stan Laurel
Stars: James Finlayson, George Rowe, Fay Wray
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
... The Husband
... The Wife
... Remington - the Brother-in-Law (as 'Babe' Hardy)
Lon Poff ... Mr. Jolly
Edit

Storyline

Charley is plagued with failure and with his brother-in-law, who's allergic to labor. When he decides to take the family on a camping trip, his wife learns about a contest sponsored by a pen company, with the first prize being an ocean trip. To win the prize Charley has to sell those pens - surprisingly he wins, but the ship turns out to be a wreck on it's last trip to the scrapyard. To make things worse they accidentally leave their young daughter on the dock and the ship sails without her. What else can go wrong on this trip? Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 July 1925 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2005 alternate)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Except for Charley Chase, whose name appears above the title, there is no cast list. Actors are introduced by inter-title cards just before they appear on the screen. The IMDb cast list therefore uses this "order of appearance" sequence. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Life terrible? No, but this movie is.

A consistent gimmick in American comedy films and cartoons is the practice of giving them titles that parody recent dramatic releases, even when there's no other similarity between the serious film and the comedy. Charley Chase's 1925 comedy "Isn't Life Terrible?" parodies the title of a D.W. Griffith drama from the previous year, "Isn't Life Wonderful?" ... but the two movies are otherwise dissimilar, with unrelated plots.

After some early unfunny gags involving Fay Wray and fountain pens, Charley prepares to embark on a cruise with his wife, their young daughter and his work-shy brother-in-law. The latter is played by Oliver Hardy without a moustache; regrettably, Hardy has very little to do in this movie and is given no chance to be really funny. The name of Hardy's character, Remington, is funnier than anything he does here.

Charley's little daughter (Mary Kornman) is about nine years old. Just before they board the ocean liner, Chase accidentally loses Mary and unknowingly acquires a little Negro girl about the same age (played by an uncredited child actress). There's an unpleasantly unfunny sequence in which Charley and his wife nonchalantly stroll the deck with (they think) their little daughter in tow, oblivious to the rude stares of busybodies wondering how this white couple have acquired a black daughter.

Oddly, after Chase and his wife embark with the black girl, their daughter Mary is left alone on the quay: she isn't with the black girl's parents, and they don't seem concerned with locating their own daughter. By omission, this movie manages to imply that black parents don't care about their own children as much as white parents do theirs.

I was very impressed with the personable acting of both the child actresses in this movie, making me regret that the black girl remains unidentified. She and Kornman are a couple of cute little charmers, and both of them wear fetching costumes. But the movie has a serious flaw. If this situation occurred in real life -- a child is left behind when her parents go on a trip, and another child is separated from her own parents -- the participants would be deeply concerned, and preoccupied with putting things right. In this movie, annoyingly, once Charley discovers he's got the wrong girl, he more or less treats this as a fait accompli and doesn't seem particularly concerned about Mary.

There are some gags that could have been quite funny, premised on the notion that the ocean liner is so decrepit it's literally falling apart. Charley leans on a bulkhead and it falls overboard, a lifebelt sinks, and so forth. These gags are well-done, but I kept expecting the characters to return to the problem of the swapped daughters ... which never really does become a major plot point in this ill-thought comedy. I was reminded of a similar situation in Buster Keaton's ocean-liner comedy 'The Navigator'. Keaton filmed an elaborate sequence (ultimately scrapped) that drew huge laughs from preview audiences when shown out of context as a preview trailer, but which wasn't funny when included in the complete movie ... because at that point in the story, Keaton's character had priorities that should have deterred him from this particular activity. Chase's character has a comparable conflict in "Isn't Life Terrible?", but doesn't confront it properly.

There's a brief but effective performance by Lon Poff as a "chips" (ship's carpenter) who looks like Death warmed over. I would have rated this movie about 2 points out of 10, but I'll give it an extra point -- 3 in 10 -- for the charming screen presences and acting talents of the two child actresses seen here. Don't expect to laugh much during "Isn't Life Terrible?".


2 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 9 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed