Sunday, May 20, 2012

Heavy Love - 1926

Country: United States
Director: Scott Pembroke
Stars: Frank Alexander, Hilliard Karr and 'Kewpie' Ross
Release Date: 21 February 1926 (USA)
Production Co: Joe Rock Comedies (I), Standard Photoplay Company
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Genres: Short | Comedy
Mention of a comedy team nicknamed "Ton of Fun" could not be expected to evoke much of a reaction today from the average movie-goer; and if a response of familiarity did occur, it would probably be taken for granted that the team in question was that of the Howdy Doody TV show of the 1950's, known as "The Tons of Fun." However, still before TV, there was another group of obese triplets around causing havoc. Consisting of Frank "Fatty" Alexander, Hilliard "Fat" Karr, and Kewpie Ross, the Ton of Fun made a number of two-reelers for F.B.O. for a couple of years in the mid-1920's. HEAVY LOVE is probably the most well-known of these films today, and also among the funniest. Yet, there are a few things which prevent it from being among the most memorable short comedies of the period.
Hired to build the house of a young woman, inevitable potential for comedy ensues; the boys prove as incompetent as one would expect. The gags are purely mechanical, obviously inspired by Frank Alexander's days as a supporting player in Larry Semon's films, and some work very well, whereas others, could have been more imaginatively elaborated. One part which made me laugh out loud had Alexander struggle with a pile of carpet, and the ending, while somewhat predictable in essence, provides an unexpected twist in the final few shots. There are also some "larger-scale" gags present here which look quite impressive for a two-reel comedy. On the other hand, there are also instances when you get exactly what you had anticipated; we may devote a second's comparison to Buster Keaton's short ONE WEEK, made some six years before, or for that matter Laurel & Hardy's mishaps in the later FINISHING TOUCH, where the immortal comedy subject of constructing a house is provided with gag after gag and stunt after stunt with the viewer almost completely unprepared. In HEAVY LOVE, on the other hand, some of the business halts when you thought it would go further. When Alexander crosses a plank of wood in between two podiums, it breaks instantly; apparently, we are expected to find mirth in his girth, but it is just what we expected, or even less. The good ultimately makes up for the less good, however, and the film remains a pleasant way to spend some twenty minutes.
As a final note, the most interesting aspect of HEAVY LOVE, perhaps, is to note how Alexander obviously has adopted several of the mannerisms of Roscoe Arbuckle, his way of walking and grabbing a wheelbarrow; Arbuckle, of course, had by this time been forced to abandon the screen.

No comments:

Post a Comment