Movies

Bumping into Broadway (1919) starring Harold Lloyd, Bebe Danial, Snub Pollard

Bumping into Broadway

Bumping into Broadway (1919) starring Harold Lloyd, Bebe Danial, Snub Pollard

Synopsis of Bumping into Broadway

Harold Lloyd silent comedy short film where he’s an aspiring playwright who spends his last dime to help his boardinghouse neighbor, a struggling starlet (Bebe Daniels) pay her rent.  Pursuing her, he winds up at a gambling club, where he accidentally wins big, just before a police raid. (more…)

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The Sin of Harold Diddlebock, starring Harold Lloyd

The Sin of Harold Diddlebock

Synopsis of The Sin of Harold Diddlebock

In The Sin of Harold Diddlebock, Harold Diddlebock is a bank cashier with 22 years of service behind him and thinks only ahead to a time when he can marry the cashier further down the aisle. When he gets fired his dream appears to be over, but a winning streak at betting finds him the new owner of a circus. Then the fun really begins! (more…)

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It’s A Gift (1934) starring W. C. Fields

It’s A Gift

 It’s A Gift (1934) starring W. C. FieldsIt’s A Gift (1934) starring W. C. Fields

Synopsis of It’s a Gift

Buy from Amazon.com In It’s A GiftW. C. Fields presents one of the funniest movies that he ever made.  He plays the role of Harold Bissonette, the ultimate henpecked husband who gets no respect from his haranguing wife, self-absorbed daughter, bratty son, the customers at his general store, or anywhere else.  He is still a man with a dream, however, who dreams of having his own orange grove in California, and keeps an article about his “dream grove” with him at all times.  During the course of the story, a rich relative passes away, leaving W. C. Fields’ character with enough money to buy his California orange grove—but, in keeping with his sad sack character, he buys a ‘lemon’ of a land—from his daughter’s boyfriend, in fact.  The boyfriend tries to buy the bad land back, but Fields will have nothing to do with it, moving his family to California to a wasteland of a ‘farm’ and a ramshackle hovel as a house.  Fate finally smiles on him however … but you’ll have to see the film for yourself to find out how! (more…)

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Vernon Dent (in blackface), Billy Bevan, in A Sea Dog's Tale

A Sea Dog’s Tale

A Sea Dog’s Tale (1926) starring Billy Bevan, Andy Clyde, Vernon Dent

Buy from Amazon.com  A Sea Dog’s Tale is a Mack Sennet comedy starring Billy Bevan, but begins somewhere in the South Seas, where the cast (people in black-face) are having a contest. The contest involves spear throwing at a victim.  It’s ultimately won by Jo Jo (Vernon Dent, best known for his work with the Three Stooges).   Jo Jo wants to use his notoriety to marry the beautiful daughter of Chief Gumbo (Andy Clyde). However, she refuses, having seen in their weekly newspaper (seriously) a photo of a champion pancake eater Wilbur Waters (Billy Bevan), and deciding that she’ll marry only him. (more…)

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Hollywood to Hoboken - Billy Bevan, Vernon Dent

Hoboken to Hollywood

Hoboken to Hollywood (1926) starring Billy Bevin,  Vernon Dent

Buy from Amazon.com  Movie review of the silent film comedy “Hoboken to Hollywood” (1926) starring Billy Bevan, co-starring Vernon Dent

Hollywood to Hoboken - Billy Bevan, Vernon DentYou likely know someone who laughs at everyone else’s misfortune – especially when he causes it.   In a nutshell, that’s the character that Billy Bevan plays here.  He’s ordered by his boss to head out to their California office, hence the title. He calls up his wife, packs their car, and starts driving to California.   Along the way, he runs (literally) into another couple relocating to California — Vernon Dent (of Three Stooges fame) and Thelma Hill.   From the beginning, Billy’s helpful advice causes grief (and slapstick violence) to Vernon Dent — backing into his motor home and leaving him dangling off a cliff (a funny scene), breaking Vernon’s axe on a petrified tree, drenching Vernon with the juice of a cactus (a very funny scene, with Vernon playing his part to the hilt), convincing them that they’re under attack from the ‘Hop-Eye Indians’ and so on, finally arriving in California. (more…)

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Saturday Afternoon, starring Harry Langdon and Vernon Dent

Saturday Afternoon

Saturday Afternoon (1926) starring Harry Langdon, Vernon Dent

Saturday Afternoon, starring Harry Langdon and Vernon DentSaturday Afternoon is a pleasant silent comedy, starring Harry Langdon as Harry Higgins, the ultimate in henpecked husbands, who at the urging of his friend Steve Smith (Vernon Dent) accompanies him on a ‘date’ with two young ladies that Steve has found. (more…)

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M. Hulot's Holiday - a film by Jacques Tati - DVD

Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday – Jacques Tati

M. Hulot's Holiday - a film by Jacques Tati - DVDMonsieur Hulot’s Holiday, starring Jacques Tati

Buy from Amazon.com In a nutshell, Jacque Tati’s  Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday  (1953) is a hilariously funny movie from start to finish.   The plot, to be polite, is sparse – the clownish Mr. Hulot goes on vacation to the seaside.   That’€™s it.   What makes this French film so funny (the original French title is  Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot,) is the constant visual humor. The humor typically (but not exclusively) centered on Jacques Tati’s title character, Monsieur Hulot – a genial, slightly dimwitted character, who often causes chaos without being aware of it.

For instance (more…)

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Kino Video Slapstick Symposium - The Harold LLoyd Collection - Includes the 1922 feature Grandma's Boy and seven rare short comedies

The Harold Lloyd Collection | Slapstick Symposium

Kino Video Slapstick Symposium - The Harold LLoyd Collection - Includes the 1922 feature Grandma's Boy and seven rare short comediesEditorial Review of The Harold Lloyd Collection (Slapstick Symposium), courtesy of Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com  This collection of vintage  Harold Lloyd comedies  is worth the price just for  Grandma’s Boy, a splendid hour long feature from 1922. Lloyd plays a small-town fellow who lives with his frisky grandmother; convinced of his own cowardice, he yearns to compete for the hand of a pretty girl. His courtly call to the girl’€™s home is the occasion for battle with a ridiculous ‘formal’ suit, mothballs, and a litter of kittens attracted by the goose grease on his shoes. There’s also a long (and quite funny) flashback to Lloyd’€™s ancestor, tangled in a Civil War fracas. (more…)

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jour de fete - Jacques Tati - DVD - black and white version

Jour de fete – Jacques Tati

Movie review of  Jour de fete, starring Jacques Tati

Buy from Amazon.com  I recently watched  Jour de fete  starring Jacques Tati, courtesy of  TCM.   I had heard of Jacques Tati, who people compare favorably with Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, but I’d never seen any of his films previously.    Jour de fete was Jacques Tati’s first feature-length film, an expanded version of one of his short films.   In a nutshell, a small carnival is coming to a small French village in the years after World War II; one of the attractions is a documentary film about the American postal service’s efficiency, which results in some good-natured joking with the local postal worker, played by Jacques Tati, who then tries to emulate American efficiency.  With some humorous, inefficient results. (more…)

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Dr. Jack movie poster, starring Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis

Dr. Jack | Harold Lloyd | movie review

Dr. Jack (1922) starring Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis

Harold Lloyd Performing, Los Angeles, California

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by Harold LLoyd’s Dr. Jack.  I’m not a huge fan of Harold Lloyd, but I truly enjoyed Dr. Jack.  The basic plot consists of the Sick-Little-Well-Girl (played by Harold Lloyd’s future wife, Mildred Davis), who has been under the care of an unscrupulous doctor, who keeps her medicated, in the dark (literally) and away from song and laughter, feeding her father’s fear of the slightest sniffle, and charging him exorbitant fees.  The family lawyer doesn’t trust the doctor, and suggests to the father that he bring in another doctor to consult.

At the same time, the audience is being introduced to Dr. Jack (Harold Lloyd), a poor but beloved country doctor, who dashes out on a medical emergency — €œMary’™s dying!€ This leads to several very funny comic scenes on the way, as he leaves his car running in a circle on his front lawn while he dashes into his house to get his medical bag, moves cows out of the way while the car is running behind them, and being pulled over by a motorcycle cop (who merely wants to give him the remainder of his breakfast that his housekeeper has packed for him).  His car overheats on the way, and he falls off the police officer’s motorcycle, borrows a bicycle and falls off that, and runs the rest of the way—only to find out that “Mary” is a young girl’s doll, who’€™s fallen into their well. (more…)

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