Monday, February 1, 2016
The Dippy Dentist (USA,1920)
Beautiful scenery, ingenious intertitles, as we can expect from a comedy by Hal Roach. This film really provides a nice excerpt on how people lived so many years ago. A black boy is part of the cast, although his character is very stereotyped even in his lines in intertitles. Those who have already watched “Our Gang” can see a familiar setting in some scenes of this film.
Dentists haven’t been new in silent comedy and even Laurel and Hardy had some gags about it. The fear caused by going to the dentist can be very funny sometimes. This film’s plot isn’t really innovative or has gags out of the standard, but it is easy to understand and entertaining.
In the very beginning of the film we see a “French beauty specialist”, a girl who has many suitors. This scene gives us short glimpses of how beauty parlors looked back to early 1920s. One of girl’s suitors is a dentist, although she didn’t seen very excited about him.
Then we see Pollard in a rather funny outdoors scene, where we can have a sample of 1920s vehicles.
In the next scene we see some crooks with a bottle of liquor. We must not forget that prohibition had recently started in the United States, so this kind of trade was considered illegal. The police chases the crooks, who leave a bag behind them in the middle of all mess. Pollard grabs the bag, unaware of its content. A short time later, he steals the clients of the dentist in a rather unorthodox way. Pollard then starts taking care of the clients, in the rudest and roughest way possible.
Then, old Pollard’s sweetheart arrives at the office, with a toothache. He treats her pain, but takes advantage of his position to kiss the girl as much as he wants while she sleeps on the chair. A police officer arrives and sees what Pollard is doing and the officer chases him, both guys completely ignoring the sleeping girl on the chair.