Once more Max adopts subterfuge in order to pursue his amours, but, unfortunately, pa requests attention to his cornuted extremities. Max is forcibly ejected for his "pains," and suffers, ... See full summary »
Max gets into trouble at the altar. He has just kissed his bride when he espies over her shoulder a pretty girl sitting in a front pew. Max cannot help giving her a wink. His bride sees him... See full summary »
Charles Chaplin, a convict, is given $5.00 and released from prison after having served his term. He meets a man of the church who makes him weep for his sins and while he is weeping takes ... See full summary »
Trixie Thompson concludes that the only way she could save her sister from dying of the "white plague" is by preventing the autumn leaves from falling. Little Trixie knows all this because ... See full summary »
Max Linder's behavior when he applied for a job as a Pathé Frères moving picture actor, was such a good joke on him that it was decided to make a film of the event, and accordingly. Max was... See full summary »
A man, his wife and their two sons are having a meal. One of the sons leaves the room pretending to be ill and collects a bunch of flowers form a cupboard and goes out. The other son takes ... See full summary »
An elegant dandy - he of suit, vest, tie, and top hat - ignores his wife at dinner in favor of his newspaper, so she tearfully leaves him and returns home to mother. He is ecstatic, dancing... See full summary »
Cinema pioneer Max Linder invents the gross-out gag
As a silent comedy star Max Linder predated even Charlie Chaplin, who is known to have admired his predecessor. It's too bad that Linder's films are so rarely revived, for although the humor is generally fairly mild Max himself is quite charming, and distinctly different from any of his successors in American silent comedy. Unlike the early Chaplin or Lloyd, he is seldom if ever the aggressor in any situation; unlike Laurel & Hardy or Harry Langdon, he usually acts like an adult (though a far from competent one), unlike Buster Keaton, he has a jaunty grin. Raymond Griffith, who was briefly popular in the '20s, resembles Linder somewhat in appearance, but Griffith's approach to comedy was more distanced and satirical. Max is often the butt of the humor in his comedies, and he tends to be a sympathetic protagonist.
At any rate, "Le Chapeau de Max" is a smoothly constructed little film with an easy to follow plot: Max has been invited to meet with his prospective in-laws, presumably to be judged on his suitability to marry their daughter, but every hat he attempts to wear to the meeting is destroyed one way or another. Great premise! Each time he goes back to the milliner's shop to buy another hat, we wonder what's going to happen to THIS one. The hat destruction gags are well conceived and well executed (although the poor quality of the surviving print obscures the action at one crucial point), and the build-up of suspense works nicely in Max's favor; we really want to see him get to his fiancée's house without another mishap.
Eventually Max does arrive with hat intact, and while waiting alone in the sitting room he places his hat carefully on the floor, at which point the family dog immediately enters, lifts his leg and urinates in it. That's right, gross-out gags are not so new as you might believe! And it gets worse: when Max's fiancée and her parents enter he attempts to hide the hat, but her father politely insists on taking it-- and unfortunately, he admires the new hat so much, he tries it on!
This may not sound like your, um, cup of tea, and perhaps it isn't, but however these events may sound when described here, Max Linder manages to make this material engaging and funny. Not to mention surprising!
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