Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Plagues and Puppy Love - 1917

Country: United States
Language: English
Director: Larry Semon
Writer: C. Graham Baker
Stars: Larry Semon, Florence Curtis and Joe Simberg
Release Date: 1 October 1917 (USA)
Production Co: Vitagraph Company of América
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Genres: Short | Comedy
Larry Semon produces his take on a typical Keystone farce, the flirting-in-the-park routine, where pretty Florence Curtis is pursued by four typical Keystone types: the wealthy geezer, the mustachioed Italian, the derby-wearing tough and, of course, the big-footed cop.... and here comes Larry, if not to save the day, at least to make us laugh.
In this period, when Semon was taking over the Vitagraph comedy unit and changing it from a situational comedy style to a Keystone-farce style, he turned out a number of decent comedies. His unit's camera-work was better than Keystone's -- or at least shot in such a way that , as the prints degraded, they developed chiaroscuro instead of simply becoming unwatchable -- his editing was more understandable to the modern viewer and he had not developed the egotism that blighted his work in the '20s. Everyone has a fair share of gags, even the dog. If you like Keystones, you should give this one a try.

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