Film Review: A Day’s Pleasure (1919)

Release Date: December 15th, 1919
Directed by: Charles Chaplin
Written by: Charles Chaplin
Music by: Charles Chaplin (in 1959 re-release as part of The Chaplin Revue)
Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Marion Feducha, Bob Kelly, Jackie Coogan, Tom Wilson, Babe London, Henry Bergman, Loyal Underwood

Charles Chaplin Productions, First National Pictures, 25 Minutes

Review:

This wasn’t Charlie Chaplin’s greatest film and truth be told, critics were underwhelmed by it and thought of it as his least impressive.

Still, this was enjoyable if you’re a fan of Chaplin and the silent slapstick comedy style.

The story is about Chaplin, as his Tramp character, taking his family on an excursion. Most of the action takes place on a ferry but there are some other scenes like the beginning, which sees Chaplin having trouble starting his Ford and the finale that involves a traffic cop and some sticky, hot tar.

On the ferry we get gags that feature seasickness, as well as some physical comedy centered around the turbulent boat ride.

In the end, this is still amusing and lighthearted but it lacks that extra oomph that Chaplin’s films typically have. I think the setting detracted from the performance, however. But it’s still entertaining and a pretty quick watch at just twenty-five minutes.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other Chaplin shorts, as well as the short films of Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton.

Film Review: Captain Kidd’s Kids (1919)

Release Date: November 30th, 1919
Directed by: Hal Roach
Written by: Hal Roach
Cast: Harold Lloyd, Bebe Daniels, Snub Pollard

Rolin Films, 20 Minutes

Review:

“The Boy. His wedding day. Last night was the first, last and only chance of his whole life for the big “souse”. He is dreaming of green Giraffes with red-white – and blue legs.” – Title Card

A few months ago I watched and reviewed Young Mr. Jazz, which introduced me to the silent era work of Hal Roach and his great creative partnership with Harold Lloyd, the star of many of Roach’s early films.

This was a whimsical and enjoyable silent short and it had a bit of swashbuckling in it. Who doesn’t love swashbuckling?

Now between this and the other Roach/Lloyd collaboration that I reviewed, I like that one a bit better. The main reason, is because this has a good easy to follow narrative but the story itself feels unfocused or disjointed. The whole bit with the pirates doesn’t really come until the final third of the film and everything is just preparation for the trip that leads the Harold Lloyd character to the pirate ship.

And it isn’t that the first two-thirds aren’t good, the whole film is enjoyable. I was just expecting a straight up swashbuckling comedy in the early Hal Roach style and it was more or less like one of his more standard films without as ambitious of a premise.

Still, this is a funny film with solid physical comedy. Hal Roach was a master of the style and Harold Lloyd wasn’t quite Chaplin or Keaton but was still, deservedly, a top star of his day.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: Other Hal Roach films from the silent era starring Harold Lloyd: Young Mr. Jazz, Just Dropped In, A Sammy In Siberia, Before Breakfast, etc.

Film Review: Young Mr. Jazz (1919)

Release Date: April 20th, 1919
Directed by: Hal Roach
Cast: Harold Lloyd, ‘Snub’ Pollard. Bebe Daniels

Robin Films, 10 Minutes

Review:

Hal Roach may best be known as the producer of the Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang (The Little Rascals) comedy film series. However, before all that, he directed some short silent comedies in the 1910s and 1920s. Young Mr. Jazz is probably one of the most well-known.

The film is quick and simple but it is really amusing. It is only ten minutes but it uses that time wisely and gives us a fun and energetic look at the popular culture of Roach’s era.

The plot sees a young couple running away from the girl’s father in their car. The car breaks down in front of a dance hall. The establishment is run by crooks, which leads to the couple trying to stay one step ahead of the girl’s father while also evading the criminal element in the club that is trying to swindle them for all that they have.

It’s a cute and fast paced movie. While it obviously feels dated, it’s 99 years-old, the humor still works and the picture is quite hilarious.

The film stars Harold Lloyd, who was a pretty prolific actor in these sort of films and a regular collaborator with Roach. Lloyd would also go on to direct and produce like Roach and he carved out a nice place as one of the comedic giants of his day, alongside Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

The collaborative efforts of Roach and Lloyd were pretty influential on comedy as a whole and they really helped set the stage for what would come after.

If you want to get into either the work of Roach or Lloyd, this is a good place to start and it is a short and sweet sample of what the two greats could do.

Rating: 8/10