Thursday, May 26, 2016
Super-Hooper-Dyne Lizzies (USA,1925)
Although many people associate Mack Sennett with 1910s slapstick comedies with frantic pace, damsels in distress, awkward cops, custard pies, villains with bizarre fake mustaches, etc. his studio always managed to adjust well to changing tastes of audiences, different comedic styles and even new technologies.
In the 1920s, Mack Sennett studios (which was also known as Keystone studios in the first years of its foundation back to the previous decade) made situational comedies (with slower pace, less focus on physical gags and more realistic situations than the so-called slapstick comedies).
Sennett also made very original comedies back to 1920s, specially with actors like Ben Turpin, Billy Bevan, Andy Clyde, etc. with a mix of slow and fast paces, witty intertitles, frequent explosions, cartoon-like special effects, objects that sometimes seemed to have a life of their own and nearly bizarre subject matters. A plenty of those films were directed by del Lord, who would later become known for his work with The Three Stooges. This film has all aforementioned characteristics.
Burbank Watts is a inventor who tried “to get power for autos from the hot air wasted on radio speeches”. Do not worry if it does not make sense to you. This statement is not supposed to make much sense anyway. Just keep in mind that this new technology meant that cars would work without gasoline. Actually, the technology worked a bit too well, as cars started to move all by themselves, sometimes even without drivers in.
Other characters of the film, among others, are Hiram Case, who was his helper, and did not seem to be very skilled. Winnie Watts was the inventor’s daughter.
It is also noteworthy that this new technology upset the oil merchant of the town and, to make things worse, he was also interested in the inventor’s daughter. The oil merchant tried to prevent this new technology from taking off, but the inventor’s assistant did not allow any sabotage to occur. As a bonus, the love of the inventor’s daughter went to his assistant and the oil merchant ended up being arrested
A particularly funny gag in this film with a car out of gas really reminded of ones made by Hal Roach studios to films of Snub Pollard (It’s a Gift, USA/1923) and Laurel & Hardy (Two Tars, USA/1928). This cute, weird comedy has its moments of fun, lots of creativity and it is still funny and amusing, even to nowadays’ audiences.