Sunday, September 27, 2009

DVR-TiVo-Or whatever recording device strikes your fancy-alert!

TCM has a quartet of Charley Chase two-reelers scheduled in their Silent Sunday Nights timeslot this evening—three of which I have not seen and one that I was able to see when Kino released their second Chase collection back in September 2005. That short is Isn't Life Terrible? (1925) and it’s a fitfully funny comedy, as evidenced by the heady praise I bestowed upon it at the time:

I also enjoyed Isn’t Life Terrible? (1925), in which a free ocean cruise won by Charley (for selling fountain pens—the housewife he tries to sell a pen to, incidentally, is played by King Kong’s Fay Wray) turns into a disaster of comic proportions. Terrible features a supporting performance from Oliver Hardy as Chase’s malingering brother-in-law Remington (“It’s lucky none of my things were in there!”) and was, I believe, his first appearance in a Chase two-reeler. (Hardy’s also in Bromo and Juliet [1926], another short in this collection, playing a cab driver trying to get a fare owed to him by Charley’s inebriated future father-in-law.) Terrible is also—from what I understand—missing a bit of footage but fortunately this doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the film.

The three shorts I haven’t seen are Bad Boy (1925; which is on the Becoming Charley Chase collection recently released by VCI Entertainment—a set that I hope to crack open one of these days), The Uneasy Three (1925) and Mama Behave (1926). These last two shorts were originally going to comprise a fistful of comedies on a collection once proposed by Milestone (Cut to the Chase), but the only information as to the date when this will be forthcoming reads “Coming Soon.” (I’m not 100% certain on this, but I had heard a rumor or two that the project has been abandoned. If it’s a funding issue…well, I’m tapped out at the present but I’m certainly not too proud to pass a hat around if necessary.) I’m particularly pumped about seeing Three; I’ve heard quite a bit of positive buzz that this one is a doozy.

Sunday Silent Nights starts on TCM at 12:00 midnight EST and in between Terrible and Three they’re going to squeeze in the silent comedy short Help (1916) starring Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew. Sounds like must-see TV for silent comedy fans—so start those recorders already!

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J.C. Loophole said...

I very much enjoyed the Charly Chase Shorts, especially Bad Boy. This was only my second exposure to his silent work, having really only seen him in some supporting roles in Patsy and others. Great stuff- I wonder if there is a biography of his out there?

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Great stuff- I wonder if there is a biography of his out there?

I think this might be what you're looking for.

J.C. Loophole said...

As Mr. Burns says: "Exxxxxccceelllent!" Thanks for the tip.
The price is a bit steep, but I will explore other library options.