Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Be Reasonable (USA,1921)
A fine and highly original film, which has the craziest situations you can imagine. But being unrealistic is part of its charm. This film is far from slapstick or situational standards, as it is neither grounded on physical gags or situations from the real life. The plot is permeated by over the top situations that run smoothly regardless of their incongruence and within a mega fast pace and the result is even a bit “surrealistic”. These sort of comedies were relatively common in Mack Sennett comedies throughout the 1920s (of which Charles Bowers was one of exponents, among many others).
Billy Bevan is one of many underrated silent comedians, who was successful in 1920s, but ended up being nearly forgotten after the end of silent era. This is something really undeserved, as he was a good comedian and even innovative on his own right.
Undoubtedly, one of most praised scenes of this film is the one with the periscope on the beach. Bevan goes to the beach, but he does not want to miss any beautiful women and he looks for them with a periscope while he is buried under the sand. Needless to say that the beach provides a great opportunity for the Bathing Beauties show up, together with the characteristic swimming suits of the era. Since the very beginning of Keystone studios, back to 1912, Mack Sennett made the most of beach sceneries in his comedies, not only to fill them in with beautiful women, but also making the sea part of the films and showing people swimming, enjoying the nature, etc.
Then Bevan finds a very beautiful girl (who had a equally cute dog) on the beach with his hilarious periscope and all of a sudden he gives her a pearl necklace. Unfortunately to Bevan the girl is more interested in the handsome life saver. Bevan tries to recover the necklace but the girl refuses to give it back to him.
But Bevan has other problems, he has to pay for the necklace or return it to the store. Since the girl did not want to return it, his only alternative is going to her house (Yes, we have no idea how he got to find out the address of a girl he has just met, but this film isn’t supposed to be reasonable, despite the title). Of course Bevan is not exactly a skilled burglar, the girl finds out her house is being robbed and calls the police.
What follows is another famous and hilarious scene of this film, which shows Bevan being chased by the police. This scene is even compared with the famous chase scene of Buster Keaton film “Cops!”, that was made on the following year. If you watch both of these films, you will realize it is impossible not to make the comparison, as the scenes of both films have many similarities.
After the chase, there is the end of the film, which is also really funny, with perfect timing and many insane situations happening in a matter of a couple of minutes.
This is a very funny film, which original gags, quite good comedic timing, good acting and production. Really worth to be carefully seen.