Al St. John and Doris Deane have just gotten married when Al gets a telegram from his uncle — or maybe his cousin; the French-language print on the Cinematek Youtube site refers to him as both. Uncle is on his way with a check for a million dollars, since Al has taken his advice and remained single. So everyone decides the way to deal with this is to pretend that Al is insane.
The logic may escape you as it does me. The point is to have Al jump around like a kangaroo on a pogo stick and make faces. It must have seemed like a good idea to the movie’s director, who was also Al St. John with some uncredited help from his uncle, Roscoe Arbuckle. Once you accept the premise, it’s amusingly done, even though the plot and Al’s performance was duplicated in dozens of short subjects in the period. The net effect: no real surprises, but decently realized….by boblipton (New York City)
Directors: Al St. John, Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle (uncredited)
Writer: Al St. John
Stars: Al St. John, Doris Deane, George Davis |
There is quite a lot of comedy talent on display, including Charley Chase, the forgotten — and very funny — Alice Howell, Chester Conklin and, to round out the pack, Al St. John. If you enjoy the early Keystones or want to see these players in their earlier, rawer phases, it will be worth your time.
Director: Rube Miller
Production Co: Keystone Film Company
Stars: Al St. John, Alice Howell, Rube Miller, Charley Chase
This Keystone from the end of 1914, involving the usual suspects running around some plumbing issues, will not hold many surprises for those familiar with Keystone in this period, or, indeed, with the works of the Three Stooges, who often played inept plumbers. It is, nonetheless, very nicely performed, especially by Charles Murray, who mugs it up freely and ineptly, as well as the pretty girl who plays the house’s maid.
Although this will likely not make any new fans for Keystone or Mr. Murray, for those who are pleased by the field, it will, I feel confident, prove to be a superior effort as it takes potshots at all the classes. If you don’t know much beyond Chaplin from this period, take a look …by bob lipton (New York City)
Director: Dell Henderson
Produced by Mack Sennett
Stars: Charles Murray, Josef Swickard, Billie Brockwell, Al St. John
Al St. John buys a touring car and takes his extended family on a disastrous trip.
Director: Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle (as William Goodrich)
Writer: Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle (as William Goodrich)
Stars: Al St. John, Doris Deane, George Davis
Also known as
Bombs and Blunders
“Bombs!” (Aka Bombs and Brides), 1916, starring Al. St. John and Charlie Murray, director Frank Griffin, produced by Mack Sennett in Keystone Studios and distributed by Triangle, is a 2-reels rare silent comedy.
Al St. John (1893-1963) was a durable and popular American comic actor who appeared some 350 or more films between 1913 and 1952. Starting at Mack Sennett’s Keystone Company, St. John rose through the ranks to become one of the major comedians. Stars of the 1920s, though less than half of his starring roles still survive today. With the advent of sound drastically changing and curtailing the two-reel comedy format, St. John diversified, creating a second career for himself as a comic sidekick in Western films and eventually developing the character of “Fuzzy Q. Jones,” For which he is best known in posterity.
Upon his arrival at Keystone, Al St John was swiftly absorbed into the Keystone repertory company; He appeared in more 1914 films than Charlie Chaplin did. After Keystone, St. John appeared in support of other comics in 2-reelers up to the end of the silent era. Owing to the ensemble nature of many early Keystones, there are films that essentially do not have a comedian central as the fixture, and outside of Charlie Chaplin, the survival rates on Keystones are less than what would be ideal.
Johnny’s first starring roles were made at Keystone, but most of them were made at the very end of the company’s history, just as Mack Sennett was abandoning the “Keystone” moniker in order to extricate himself from the Triangle Film Corporation partnership. . St. John got a chance at solo stardom starting in 1919 with Paramount Pictures and the early Warner Bros. studio, and this led to the extended series of 2-reel comedies for Fox Film Corporation and Educational Pictures. Al St. John starred in more than 70 2-reel comedies through 1932. This is the most important part of his personal legacy, but it remains the least accessible part of his activity.
Al St. John’s association with his cousin, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, was central to his film career. Arbuckle first brought St. John to the Keystone set in 1913; Over the years to follow, Arbuckle routinely employed St. John in playing rubies, rivals and other parts in support of his popular “Fatty” character. When Arbuckle left Keystone in early 1917 to form the Comique Comedy Unit at Paramount, he and St. John was joined by stage comedian Buster Keaton, and the three created a singular cycle of silent comedies that exploited their matched acrobatic abilities and hard-driving capabilities in slapstick.
Louise Fazenda … Italian’s Daughter
Mary Thurman … Miss O’Doherty
Harry Booker … Mayor Tom O’Doherty
Wayland Trask … Stenographer
Edgar Kennedy … Italian Ward Leader
Al St John … Bike Messenger
Jasper The Diving Horse … Jasper, the Diving Horse
Directed by and stars Al St. John and the first half is a little below average. It’s a variation on the sort of rustic comedies his uncle, Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, used to star in with Mabel Normand almost a decade earlier. The gags, while reasonable and appropriate, are, like the cows, milked too much. The pretty girl is swinging on a swing, reading a newspaper and knocks four of her suitors and her father into the water, with a long, slow-motion shot of them plunging into the depths
Director: Al St. John
Stars: Al St. John, Norma Conterno, Hilliard Karr
The New Janitor was the 27th comedy from Keystone Studios to feature Charlie Chaplin. The film is arguably one of his best for the studio, and a precursor to a key Essanay
Charlie is janitor for a firm the manager of which receives a threatening note about his gambling debts. He throws a bucket of water out the window which lands on his boss and costs him his job. The boss, attempting to steal the money heeds from the office safe, is caught by his secretary and Charlie comes to save her and the money. He is briefly accused of being the thief but ultimately triumphs.
– Written by Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Studios short, The Bank. Wikipedia
Initial release: September 24, 1914
Director: Charlie Chaplin
Screenplay: Charlie Chaplin
Production company: Keystone Studios
Producer: Mack Sennett
Stars: Charles Chaplin, John T. Dillon, Al St. John