Monday, April 9, 2012

Jonah Jones - 1924

Country: United States
Language: English
Director: Fred Hibbard
Writer: Fred Hibbard
Stars: Lloyd Hamilton, Babe London and Dorothy Seastrom
Release Date: 21 September 1924 (USA)
Production Co: Lloyd Hamilton Corporation
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Genres: Short | Comedy
This two-reeler is one of several Lloyd Hamilton comedies recently restored and made available on DVD as part of a set called "Ham: The Lost Magic of Lloyd Hamilton." JONAH JONES is one of the better films in the set, although its impact is slightly diminished by a chunk of missing footage at the beginning of Reel Two that renders the plot a little confusing and, worse, wrecks one of Ham's sight gags. Still, there's plenty here to enjoy, and for those who've never seen this neglected comic at work the film presents him in his characteristic role, i.e. that of the well-meaning schnook who can't get a break and almost never wins.
Set in the bucolic countryside, the opening sequence introduces Ham and his girlfriend Babe London as "the hired man and his three acres of love." (Miss London, best remembered as Oliver Hardy's hefty fiancée in OUR WIFE, made a career out of serving as the butt of jokes about her weight.) After a number of gags about cars, cows, and accidentally swallowed cigarettes, the plot proper gets under way when Ham encounters an attractive, prosperous-looking young lady who is having car trouble. After gallantly fixing her flat tire he leans against a nearby fence and waves her on with an insouciant, even cocky grin; moments later, the young lady crashes through the gate and dumps Ham into a mud puddle. This gag sums up Ham's comic Modus Operandi in a nutshell: even when the guy wins, he loses. But when he realizes that the young lady has left her purse behind with her address inside he sets out to return it, no doubt hoping for a reward, either monetary or romantic. 

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