Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Seven Years Bad Luck (1921)


Max Linder, a groundbreaking early silent film star plays Max, a rich (and superstitious) playboy with no worries other than marrying his sweetheart (Alta Allen). Until he breaks his mirror, that is. Suddenly his life is consumed with avoiding the bad luck it's sure to bring him -- inviting loads of worse luck in the process!

Early in the movie, Max's valet (Ralph McCullough) tries to keep the broken mirror a secret, and when Max comes to get ready...they launch into an absolutely brilliant mirror-image sequence. You thought the Marx Brothers were good? Linder and McCullough mimic each other so perfectly, you forget it's two actors.

After seeing that, I had high hopes for this picture; but, while Linder was immensely talented - Chaplin himself called him "Professor" - something was missing for me. The gags are there, and they're funny, but I found it lacking a charm and warmth I've come to expect from Chaplin, Keaton, or Lloyd. (Not having seen a great deal of Chase or Langdon, I reserve opinion on them for another time.) Even the ending, albeit sweet, seemed empty.

Linder's career never took off in the US, but I can see sparks of why he was so immensely popular in Europe, and even though I wasn't thrilled with this picture, I would seek him out again. His daughter Maud produced a documentary, "The Man in the Silk Hat", that contains many clips of his work and would be worth tracking down.

I give this one (I had to use Frizotto!): 

1 comment:

Ruby@Ruby'sMusings said...

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