Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Max et son chien Dick - 1912

Country: France
Language: French
Directors: René Leprince, Max Linder
Writer: Max Linder
Stars: Max Linder, Jane Renouardt and Henri Bosc
Also Known As: Max und sein Hund Austria / Germany
Max and Dog Dick UK
Max and His Dog USA
Production Co: S.C.A.G.L.
MAX AND HIS DOG is an entertaining short comedy with the great Max Linder. Here, our hero is deeply in love with a pretty girl named Hanni; or at least he's highly attracted to her. The feelings are returned to some extent, but Hanni finds it difficult to choose between Max and another lover. She finally marries Max, which apparently turns out as a wise decision, until the girl receives a note from the rival: "My Dear, I have now realized that you are the only and true love." Max discovers the message by accident, and rightfully suspicious, he gives his dog Dick orders to keep an eye on his wife. As man's best friend, Dick is polite; when the lover arrives to Max's home while the latter is at work, he calls him through a telephone and barks that Max must rush home in a hurry.
Max's mistrust in his wife seems to be reasonable. When he arrives home, he finds her sitting on the bed in the arms of the other man. In a Keystone Comedy, the husband would've got furious and strangled his rival. Max's reactions to the circumstances, on the other hand, confirms his far more mature style of comedy. When he enters the room he's shocked, but quickly changes his appearance: he simply takes a brief look at his wife as shame increase inside her, lights a cigarette, leans himself to his stick, and asks Dick to bring his ex-wife's suitcase.
After Hanni and the lover has left, Max invites his friend to dinner; the dog, that is. In the last shot, we witness a happy Max enjoying his meal in Dick's company. The moral is simple: one should prefer a sincere friendship with a polite dog rather than false love from an impolite girl.
When Max Linder made this amusing little flick in 1912, he was in his late twenties and at the peak of his popularity; he'd starred in more than four hundred short comedies already, and many more were to come. Unfortunately, less than hundred of them survive today; most of them are archived in The French Film Insitute. Happily, MAX AND HIS DOG can be found on the DVD Comedy With Max Linder from Grapevine Video, as one out of fourteen short comedies starring the incurable dandy Max Linder.

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