Sunday, November 27, 2016

Three's a Crowd (USA, 1927)

This film is a good example on why Harry Langdon is considered by many critics to be at the same artistic level of the “three masters of silent comedy”, which are Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. With imaginative, creative gags and an ability to really make people feel sympathetic in a plot whose pathos is universal, it is hard to resist Langdon’s charm and comedic competence. 
Langdon is a lonely lad who lives in a poor neighborhood. We can quickly see how innocent Langdon is and that he truly lives in a chaotic world, whose rules he cannot understand. He is not really a bad person and he tries to do his best to handle the chaos around him, but he is always a victim of circumstances he cannot control. At the same time the audience realizes Langdon is exploited by his boss, but his contact with his boss, who is married and has a son, makes Langdon understand that a family life could be something very fulfilling. The wife of his boss takes pity on Langdon and treats him gently, but unfortunately it was enough for his boss to feel jealous and think he was flirting with his wife. Some misunderstandings occur and Langdon found himself in hot water. 
After a while, time passed, winter came and it started to snow heavily. In another unidentified place, we could see a man waking up, looking troubled and he found a note on a chair. If was his pregnant wife who had left him (the audience was led to understand it was due to alcoholism, gambling or something like that) and recommended her husband to return to his father’s house and recover and that if he managed to do it, she would forgive him and give him a second chance. The audience can feel instantly that both husband and wife loved each other deeply and it was only the husband’s momentary troubles that separated the couple. 
After walking in the middle of all snow, the woman feels ill and Langdon gets to bring her to his house while she was fainted and took care of her. After realizing she was pregnant and the baby would soon be born, he called a doctor and the neighborhood’s women to handle her delivery. Langdon waited on his doorstep until the baby was born and the baby was healthy and everything went well. After everyone congratulated him on the baby’s birth, Langdon could finally experience how wonderful it was to have his own family. He knew very well that the woman had a husband and that the guy might be looking for his family, but deep inside Langdon wished ardently that the husband forget about his wife and son, so he could have them both as his own family. 
A while after the baby is born, the woman is bedridden and Langdon takes care of them both, also working hard to financially support both mother and baby. Langdon is shown to be really awkward to take care of the baby, as he had no experience whatsoever, but he could also compensate it with much love and dedication to his new adopted family. One day, Landgon decides to go to the fortune teller to check if the husband would ever return and pick up his wife and son. After the fortune teller assuring him that the husband would step out and never return, Langdon felt confident and secure that his new family would never be taken away from him, even though he was still afraid. 
Meanwhile, the husband got desperate that his wife had left him and he really did as she requested in her letter. He returned to his father’s house and was doing good, we can really see he was looking much better. And, after his recovery, he started a made hunting for his wife and son and he hired private detectives to assist him. 
After a while, Langdon’s worst nightmare happened and the husband returned to look for his family. At first, the husband seemed puzzled, but after realizing his wife and son were so kindly taken care of and that Langdon helped his family right at the moment they needed it the most, the husband felt really touched and he showed his utmost gratitude and appreciation for Langdon. His wife was also very grateful. But then the pathos takes place again, after the couple said they would be really happen to see Langdon again, they left Langdon’s house in a blink of eyes and Langdon found himself as alone as he was at the beginning of the film. And both woman and son disappeared from his life as unexpectedly as they had entered.
Langdon is devastated and returned to the fortune teller to confront him, but the fortune teller’s store was closed. Langdon thought about throwing a stone and break the window as an act of revenge, but he was not really a bad man and gave up. But, for the first time, destiny was on Langdon’s side. After he gave up, throwing the stone away, it ended up hitting a heavy object, which clashed right into the fortune teller’s story, destroying it completely. This is the final message of the film, that revenge is useless and that whatever that must happen to a person, either good and bad, can smoothly happen without anyone’s interference.