Pluck and Plotters 1918

pluck and plotters

An early and amusing Semon from the days before his budgets and ego ballooned out of control. He is the utterly inept janitor in an office building, where an inventor is busy cutting a deal for a new sort of — well, it looks like it might be a racing car, but it might be a zeppelin. But when Larry is not wielding a broom and forcing everyone into either ducking or taking a pratfall, or dunking an ice cube into the water cooler like an over-sized tea bag, he is fouling up industrial espionage. There is is a lovely thrill comedy bit with Madge Kirby at risk.

As with Semon’s other comedies of this period, he is the star but not the whole show, and that produces more varied and greater belly laughs. In this period his camera work was more interesting than his competitors, his gags as funny or funnier and although his story construction was no thing of beauty, it served as a fine framework for the gags…by boblipton (New York City)

Director: Larry Semon (as Lawrence Semon)

Production Co: Vitagraph Company of America
Writer: Larry Semon (scenario) (as Lawrence Semon)
Stars: Larry Semon, Madge Kirby, Frank Alexander

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Schweik in Civilian Life 1927

Svejk v civilu (original title) – This movie has English subtitles

 

Svejk_vestido_de_civil-272874642-mmed

“The Good Soldier Svejk” is probably one of the most popular books in Czech ‘German’ literature.

Written by Herr Jaroslav Hasek, who had an incredible and thrilling life equal to Herr Svejk’s adventures, the book was his most accomplished literary work, finally giving him both fame and money (although the author died before finishing his oeuvre). The book was completed by Karel Vanek

The book tells the story of Herr Svejk, a common, simple minded (but certainly not stupid) man. Discharged from military service due to his not being very bright, he worked as a dealer in stolen dogs in civilian life. He would later join the army again, bringing trouble to anyone around him, living through situations from which he always succeeds.

So, having in mind the popular and funny story of Herr Hasek’s book, it was just a question of time before this would be adapted to the silent screen. Herr Gustav Machaty was the third one who did so when he directed “Svejk v Civilu” ( Svejk In Civilian Life ) in the silent year of 1927.

It must be said that Herr Svejk was simply the motivation for Herr Machaty’s film adaptation; our clumsy hero is not precisely the principal character of that picture. The story in the film is an original one which doesn’t exist in the book. Herr Svejk will simply be the link connecting the four different characters; Frau Lo, a modern rich and whimsical fraulein who has an old admirer, the Baron Camera; Herr Pavel, working as chauffeur for Frau Lo, the latter trying to seduce him but the chauffeur prefers the seamstress Frau Anna who lives in Herr Svejk neighborhood; and last but not least, there is a dog named “Hero” which will involve everyone with each other.

These four will be the principal characters of this funny and stylish comedy in where Herr Svejk has a secondary although important role due to his clumsiness and misunderstandings.

Herr Machaty differentiates the scenes depending on the characters involved; on one hand we have an elegant comedy with a subtle eroticism regarding the “ménage à quatre” and on the other one, the common and funny situations of Herr Svejk and his business partners, a motley bunch of common people inspired by their everyday life and packed with puns and sarcasm.

“Svejk v Civilu” is a very remarkable film, a skillful and rhythmic comedy in which Herr Machaty develops gags in a classical way for a film where the literary background is loosely adapted for the sake of cinematic interests, a fact that certainly is what really matters, that is to say, an inventive silent film, and not a faithful book transcription.

And now, if you’ll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must avoid meeting a Teutonic rich heiress in order to prevent unexpected problems.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/

 

Director: Gustav Machatý
Writers: Jacques Bachrach (story), Karel Vanek/Jaroslav Hašek
Stars: Karl Noll, Dina Gralla, Jirí Hron

Double Trouble 1927

double trouble

“Snub” and his much larger dancing partner, “Fat” (Marvin Loback), struggle with each other in the room they share, try to crash the local vaudeville house and end up having to repossess a piano from their former landlord.

Director: James D. Davis
Stars: ‘Snub’ Pollard, Marvin Loback, Harry Martell

The Big Shot 1929

 

Fat and Snub are a reporter and photographer who try to track down a reclusive Scotsman for an interview and photo.
Director: James D. Davis
Stars: ‘Snub’ Pollard, Marvin Loback, Thelma Daniels

Feet of Mud 1924

feet ofMud

As Harry has “cleaned up” on the football field and won the big game, Natalie’s dad figured that he should do the same in the world of work before marrying his daughter. Harry’s chance to prove himself comes with an “engineering” job with the city. But it’s sanitary engineering, and while our street sweeping hero tries his best, he just can’t avoid making enemies. When he stumbles into the midst of a lively Chinatown tong war, it’s Harry’s bravery that saves Natalie and wins the day.

Director: Harry Edwards (uncredited)

Produced by Mack Sennett
Stars: Harry Langdon, Florence Lee, Natalie Kingston

Trial Marriages 1907

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Comedy

A man attempts a series of ‘trial marriages’ with various women, and eventually gives up on marriage altogether.

Directed by unknown
Cinematography by Billy Bitzer
Starring unknown
Distributed by Biograph Company
Release date January 17, 1907
Country United States
Running time 12 m.

 

Idle Eyes 1928

idle eyes

Comedy/short

The film begins with Ben Turpin looking for some food. He’s a hobo and is resorting to trying to steal food from a baby. That ‘baby’ is actually four year-old midget, Billy Barty.

Director: Leslie Goodwins
Stars: Ben Turpin, Georgia O’Dell, Helen Gilmore