Friday, December 14, 2012

A Strong Revenge - 1913

Country: United States
Language: English (intertitles)
Director: Mack Sennett
Stars: Mack Sennett, Mabel Normand and Ford Sterling
Release Date: 10 March 1913 (USA)
Also known as: The Rivals (USA - reissue title); The Shoemaker's Revenge (USA - working title)
Production Co: Keystone Film Company
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Genres: Short | Comedy
In the early 1900's, German comedy teams were very popular and so were Limburger Cheese jokes and routines. Limburger was "the cheese you could smell in the dark." It is probable that this entire movie is based on a vaudeville routine. Both Sennett and Sterling had vaudeville backgrounds. and probably saw routines very much like this.
In a recent article called "The Cheese That Stands Alone," Ben Schwartz in "Lapham's Quarterly" notes the many films based on the bad smell of cheese:
"the movie, Oh! That Limburger: The Story of a Piece of Cheese (1906), in which two boys slip Limburger into their father's pockets, after which he is chased out of his office by his co-workers.
Still, it's doubtful Andrea foresaw how the new media of silent films aimed at younger, modern audiences would offer up Limburger as a comedy star. They include Limburger and Love (1910) and, conversely, Love and Limburger (1913), A Strong Revenge (1913), Adventures of Limburger and Schweitzer (1914), Limburger's Victory (1915), A Case of Limburger (1915), A Limburger Cyclone, (1917), and the Katzenjammer Kids cartoon, Down Where The Limburger Blows (1917). In Chaplin's Shoulder Arms (1918), the comedian plays a GI at the front who receives Limburger in a care package. He needs a gas mask to get near it, and then throws the cheese into an enemy trench forcing thirteen German soldiers to surrender. As a war hero, Limburger found one of its few positive images."
What is amazing about this movie, which is really one long and one short practical joke, is the ability of the actors to make you see how bad the cheese smells. The facial expression by Normand and the rest of the cast are so good, that you feel how bad the cheese smells. 

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