Bringing a collection of seven 2-reeler comedies from the golden period of this acting/producer legend, the CHARLEY CHASE DVD is a fantastic introduction to the funny and frenetic world of Charley Chase and a rare chance t... more »o experience the work of one of the most influential short-film comedians of the late 1920s. The CHALEY CHASE DVD brings the following short films: MUM'S THE WORD (1926), APRIL FOOL (1926), CRAZY LIKE A FOX(1926), LONG FLIB THE KING (1923), MIGHTY LIKE A MOOSE (1926), and ALL WET (1924). In a series of one and two reelers at the Hal Roach Studios, Chase elevated the style of situation comedy to an art form with his unique combination of madcap adventures, beautiful women and wild misunderstandings. After a decade of working in front of and behind the cameras (he was Director General at the Roach Studios), Charley Chase was persuaded to start a new series of one reel comedies in 1923. From the first release, Chase became a hit with the public--"America's New Joy Boy" was filling theater houses with laughter from coast to coast. Chase discovered that by starting with a simple predicament that any average person could get into, the public could identify with him. Then, gradually, by building a once plausible situation into a fiascfiasco, he could take them to a riotous conclusion that is unbelievable, yet, somehow conceivable. Carefree, frivolous, wild and woolly, Charley Chase was the "Good Time Charlie" that we all wished we could be. Fortunately, due to film preservation, we still have him.« less
"Yes--here he is folks--"Good Time Charley, Playboy of the Flapper Age" ! These six shorts starring silent comedian Charley Chase add up to a couple of hours of highly amusing entertainment. When you mention silent comedy to most people, they think of Keaton, Chaplin, Lloyd, and maybe Arbuckle and the Keystone Cops. Somehow, to all but the most dedicated enthusiast, Charley Chase has been forgotten, and that's a shame. For this viewer at least, he was the equal of any of the great silent comics, and actually made a successful transition to sound. Many of his sound shorts are just as funny, especially when he was paired with the lovely Thelma Todd.
On this disc, we have two one-reelers from 1924 and four two-reelers from 1926 :--
April Fool--1924--the title tells all as the gang at the office play tricks on Charley, and vice versa--tricks that sometimes backfire very badly.
All Wet--1924--Charley is driving to the train station, and meets the "pothole from hell"--wonderful gags.
Mum's the Word--1926--Charley pretends to be a butler--not exactly his "true calling".
Crazy Like a Fox--1926--Charley pretends to be a lunatic, and the laughs just keep coming--not the last time he would play this kind of role. Oliver Hardy has a cameo.
Long Fliv the King--1926--to become Queen, a princess must marry any man within 24 hours, and she picks Charley. Some nasty people back at court are "not amused"--watch out for the hilarious sword-fight.
Mighty Like a Moose--1926--Charley and his wife, without telling one another, have radical facial surgery, don't recognize one another, and try to "cheat" with each other. One of the best, with Charley's famous "fight with himself". If I explained any more, I'd spoil it. This one is a gem !
I must salute Kino for making these, and other silent classics, available on DVD. When you watch these comedies, you are looking at film that is 80 years old ! So--yes--you may see some wear and tear, and a few "splices". Personally, I think we are lucky that these still exist ! At the same time, I really hope we will see more of Charley Chase's work--silent and sound--released on DVD.
This type of comedy may not be for everyone--it is definitely slapstick--a world where people stop pies with their faces, get "accidentally" soaked with hoses, have messy adventures with unpredictable fountain pens and so on. I guess it's a flaw in my character, but I find this brand of comedy--and Charley Chase in particular--funny in the extreme.
So--had a tough day at work ? problems with your relationship ? the taxman wants more than you expected ? If you need a smile and a laugh desperately--have no fear, Chase is here !
The Return Of Charley Chase.
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 08/09/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most people familiar with silent comedy are not familiar with Charley Chase. They recognize the face but not the name. Chase is probably best known as the obnoxious conventioneer in Laurel & Hardy's SONS OF THE DESERT. He was a hard working, driven individual who died in 1940 at the age of 46. His real name was Charles Parrott and in addition to being a performer he was also a gag writer, a producer as well as a director of his and other people's shorts. During the 1920's he was the most popular performer in comedy shorts until the advent of Laurel & Hardy. This new collection from Kino International and Lobster Films allows us to see Chase in his prime. What we see in these shorts is a man who while not a topflight comedian like Chaplin, Keaton or Lloyd, could be uproariously funny at times depending on his material.
The director on most of the shorts in this collection was Leo McCarey who would go on to become one of Hollywood's major directors with features like DUCK SOUP and GOING MY WAY. Start off your viewing with MIGHTY LIKE A MOOSE which is undoubteedly the best short in this collection. The plot of an ugly married couple who undergo plastic surgery unbeknownst to each other and then proceed to fall in love with their new selves is a true classic which has appeared elsewhere. Follow that up with CRAZY LIKE A FOX which shows the full range of his inventiveness as Charley pretends to be crazy to get out of an arranged marriage. The one reel ALL WET contains one of the more imaginative sequences in all of silent comedy as Chase repairs a car while underwater.
The remaining titles all have something to recommend them so hats off to Lobster Films for allowing us the opportunity of seeing an undeservedly forgotten comedian as well as giving us shorts by Harold Lloyd and Stan Laurel (before Hardy). These three sets are part of a new series called SLAPSTICK SYMPOSIUM from Kino International who continue to provide us with quality silent film releases."
Thomas Degan | Goshen, NY United States | 10/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's really kind of sad to think that the name Charley Chase barely registers with anyone nowadays. Sad because in an era of great comics, he was one of the greatest. One of the reasons, probably, is the fact that Charley didn't have the clown persona of a Chaplin or a Keaton. He was much more of a regular guy type, comperable to Harold Loyd although I always thought that Chase's character was much more believable than Loyd's. The release of this DVD is a cause for celebration among all lovers of great comedy. I hope it's the first of many more. Tom Degan Goshen, NY"
Mine Played Fine
Wayne A. | Belfast, Northern Ireland | 10/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Look right below me. Since when did this stop being a review symposium and start being the Complaints Department at Macey's? I'm here for the reviews, not for some dopey quality-control issue that should be brought up with the manufacturer and one that the manufacturer and distributer would certainly fix pronto. I hated Don Quixote because of a bad binding? I honestly expect more sense from a Top 500 reviewer. I just came from a review of a Hammer Film (The Devil Rides Out) where some loon from Italy goes on and on about all the DVDs that Amazon sends her are "100% Damaged" including the replacements!!! She's ordering DVDs from the US and she lives in Italy?! A Region Coding problem perhaps? Please visit the review and hit inappropriate, then go to her other reviews and do the same (They all complain about "100% Damaged" DVDs!!). Lets clear out the deadwood.
Anyway, I highly recommend this collection. Chase is a real surprise if you've been stuck with the usuals for silent comedy--his work almost seems like fun rips on Silents that would've been made in the Fifties for, say, "Singin' in the Rain." He especially had an acute eye for an outrageous site gag that somehow made sense. In one film (name forgotten) he's getting out of his car with his golf clubs and a women whizzes by him and nearly misses him. The golf clubs fly way too far up in the air and scatter ridiculously. It's a subtle bit of extra oomph that makes his work so enjoyable.
Thanks Kino--great job!!"
Some great stuff
Anyechka | Rensselaer, NY United States | 06/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Though he was the biggest comedian working in short subjects in the mid- and late Twenties, unfortunately Charley Chase is largely forgotten today. Happily, however, as more of his work becomes available on DVD and released to the public, it seems as though more and more fans of vintage comedy are rediscovering just how talented and funny he truly was, right up there with the likes of Keaton, Chaplin, Lloyd, and Linder. This disc brings together six of his shorts, four two-reelers and two one-reelers.
'Mum's the Word' (1926) was previously released on Vol. 9 of 'The Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy.' Charley plays a young man who is coming home from school to visit his mother, who has just remarried. On the train home, he meets a young lady whom he, of course, falls in love with. It turns out that she's travelling to the same house he is, where she works as a maid, and that once home, he must pretend to be a new butler, for his mother hasn't yet told her new husband the rather important fact that she has a grown son. It also comes out that the new maid isn't being totally honest about her true identity either.
'Long Fliv the King' (1926) starts out with the not-so-original plot device of a young woman, Helga, having to marry by a certain date and time, but in this case she's not being rushed to marriage because she's got money coming to her--she's got a royal crown coming to her. She settles on Charley, who is in prison and scheduled to die soon. What the new queen didn't count on was that just after they were married and she left for her kingdom, Charley would be sprung from prison and cleared of the false charges against him. He trails her to her kingdom with his new friend/lackey Warfield, played by the wonderful Max Davidson, who is even more forgotten than Charley today. His own films aren't shown too often because of modern-day concerns and sensitivities towards the rather stereotyped Jewish characters he often was stuck playing, but in films such as this (though it does contain a few somewhat cringe-worthy moments), he was more or less allowed to just be himself and to be funny that way. Of course, complications arise when Charley arrives in Thermosa. Many people at court don't want some outsider on the throne, and try to overthrow him. Oliver Hardy also plays a small role in this one.
'April Fool' (1924) is from Charley's days playing a character called Jimmie Jump. Being a one-reeler, the plot is fairly simple and straightforward, people at his newspaper office playing tricks on one another all day, with his sweetheart, the boss's daughter, eventually getting in on the fun too.
'Mighty Like a Moose' (1926) was previously released on Vol. 9 of 'The Lost Films of L&H.' Charley, Mr. Moose, has horrible teeth, and his wife has a rather unfortunate nose. Unbeknownest to the other, they each get surgery, and are so unrecognisable to one another afterwards that they make a date to go to a party being thrown by their doctor. Since they both think they're cheating on the other spouse, a lot of comedy ensues as they're each getting ready for the date. Things get even more sticky when a picture of the two of them shows up on the front page of the paper after the party was busted for having alcohol.
'Crazy Like a Fox' (1926) was previously released on Vol. 6 of 'The Lost Films of L&H,' and co-stars Oliver Hardy in a minor role. Charley is very unhappy because he's being forced to marry a woman he doesn't know, and even more so after meeting and falling in love (or at least lust) at first sight with a young woman he meets at the depot. She too is being forced to marry against her will, but what neither of them know is that Charley is the man she's been matched with. Determined to avoid this marriage, Charley decides to pretend to be absolutely crazy when he arrives at the young woman's mansion. His riotous act may end up working a little too well, however.
'All Wet' (1924) is another Jimmie Jump comedy. Jimmie, who is staying at a boarding house, gets an important telegram telling him to be at the train station by 2:30 to pick up a litter of English Pitbull puppies. He happily dashes off to fulfill what he thinks will be a routine errand, but meets with nothing but car (and other) trouble along the way. Though he was really good in these one-reelers, he was just too funny and talented to be served well in such a short timeframe. He needed that extra reel to continue building up the storyline and his character.
Overall, this is a solid enough introduction to Charley's work for a new fan, though the one-reelers really aren't at the same mature polished level as the later four shorts. It's also unfortunate that fully one-half of this collection was previously released; it's not fair to fans to be asked to buy that much duplicate material just to see a few new shorts. Having three repeats from previous collections might not be that bad had there been more than just six shorts here, but since there are only six, it seems like it would have made more sense for there to be more newly-released material, no matter how great the three repeats are."