Thursday, October 02, 2014

It's been awhile since I gave any of these downright funny 'n classic Lupino Lane comedies a go, so you can bet that I jumped at the opportunity to snatch up a couple of DVDs that have been made available by the indispensable folk at And a nice selection of shorts these mid/late-twenties films are...complete with that old-tymey cracked film flicker and chop-up editing, they certainly do bring back more of those great long-gone memories of sipping diet Shasta (which was some of the rankiest soda to be found on the planet during the mid-seventies) while chomping down sour cream 'n onion potato chips on a muggy summer night watching old mooms being beamed in from distant television stations I could only get during tornado warnings. And lemme tell you, some of the stations I'd watch for rarities such as these were so distant you think they originated on Jupiter but hey, it was either that or sitting through Pat Robertson and his disingenuous grin on 700 CLUB so what's it gonna be, shorty?

Some def. Lane classics appear on these disques such as "Maid in Morocco" which I gotta say showcases Lane's athletic stunts to the max what with the way he actually loop-de-loops the Moorish arches in this middle-eastern laugh fest---and I'm not kidding when I say that Harold Lloyd comes off like Karen Quinlan next to this champ! Also hotcha is 1929's "Summer Saps", one of those family sitcom-styled shorts where Lane plays the frazzled husband marooned in his abode during his time off from work having to not only put up with his crabboid wife and brat kids but an annoying pianist next door not forgetting the dyke who lives directly below. Another top notch one has Lane playing a galley slave rowing away on a big ship setting the stage for a whole slew of sitegag fun later to be found on THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW (y'know, the Harvey Korman/Tim Conway skits) but I wouldn't hold it against him.

Also included is a nicely well-worn tee-vee print of Lane's talkie short "Purely Circumstantial" which might take getting used to considering the over-emphasis on sound as a way to elicit cheapoid laughs (plus it does take time to become acquainted with Lane's cultured English accent, not to mention brother/foil Wallace Lupino's ridiculous "ha-hoo-hoo-hah"!), but it does give you an idea of what might've been had Lane stuck around in Hollywood a whole lot longer and developed in comedy shorts 'stead of scrambootched back to England to make films nobody in the United States has seen for ages, if ever. (Also be on the lookout for Stanley Blystone as the "heavy", he best known as a sometimes Stooges foil who once got his armpit hair ripped out by Larry Fine himself!)

Can't do better and well worth the time and all that rot, and a much better example of what silent-era comedy coulda aspired to when all of the no-holds-barred rules were really taken to heart. And hey, you can either watch these visual wonders tonight or flick on TCM to see Charlie Chaplin milk a whoile lotta cheap emote outta New York snoots who only like him because he was a red who liked to ball underage girls!

For just a taste, here's an edited version of "Summer Saps" that might give you at least an idea of what you will be in for in case you do wanna splurge for both volumes, and if I were you I'd SPLURGE ON, you ol' fanabla you:

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