Thursday, July 16, 2020


Every once in awhile I like to get a good ol' silent moom into my system, although I really dread seein' the way they are presented whenever TCM gets hold of one. No, let me rephrase that---I really dread hearin'em considerin' the horrible up-to-date schlocky music they attach to these otherwise stellar examples of funtime entertainment that might make 'em "view-able" for your standard post-human upscale "cinema"-lover but pretty dismal for a downright suburban slob lover of the past like I am!

Mebbee that's why I really dig these Grapevine Video (see link on left hand of screen) silent film offerings which contain music that really does fit in with the visuals and give ya the same downhome entertainment value that I'm sure your ancestors got outta the exact same films a good century or so back. Y'know, that classic organ more akin to a roller rink, but it sure does bring back memories and GOOD ones regarding moom pitcher fun 'n jamz and how it appealed to some poor slob out for an evening of entertainment.  And as far as silent films go they seem to deliver way more of what's important in the development and general rendering of a story than alla these things with special effects yet dire, anti-life values and production that one such as I unfortunately has been in contact with these sad 'n sorry days.

THE SUCKER PUNCH ain't exactly what I would call the cream of the silent moom pitcher crop, but it sure delivers on a pretty hotcha story that kept my attention goin' despite the various pitfalls that would keep this from becoming an instant classic. Really, the idea of getting matinee idol Richard Dix to play a role meant for Harold Lloyd (complete with the acrobatic and nerve-gripping tension found not only in SAFETY LAST but a slew of Lloyd vehicles where he ripped off himself) doesn't quite seem right and in many cases just seems awkward, but better him than the team of Jim Belushi and Michael Keaton ripping off the famed building climbing scene in some hideous sitcom whose title I thankfully forgot. But still the entire film works out even if I wouldn't call it a top notcher of twenties "cinema" (ooooh!), and if this 'un turned up on the WVIZ-TV OLD MOVIES show back inna mid-seventies you could bet I woulda been front and center even with that weird organ soundtrack that rambled on no matter what the action on-screen just happened to be.

Dix plays the son of a well-to-do businessman training to be a boxer (thus the title---he's got a "shock punch" to rival Dempsey) who falls for the daughter of a construction magnate who just happens to loathe boxing. Of course Dix gives it all up for her (thus ending any hope I had of this being yet another classic pugilistic romp so common way back when) and actually gets a job at his new gal's father's firm among the girders leading to a whole lot of those comedic close calls that echo a good portion of those aforementioned Lloyd flickers that kept folk like me on edge for ages. Along the way he meets up (again) with the foreman (silent screen heavy Walter Long) who was punched out by Dix in an earlier scene, leading to some pretty interesting added tension which culminates in the nerve-racking girder about to break loose and ruin everything in sight climax that, if it doesn't wow audiences these days, proves that for all intent purposes life as we knew it died out around the time EVERYBODY hadda become sophisticated and forget their past, good or bad, with a sorry vengeance.

Hokay, so THE SHOCK PUNCH ain't exactly a four star winner here at BLOG TO COMM, but it really beats out all of the classy high art filmic excursions that people with first names like Judith and Pauline had been hosanna-ing to the rafters for the longest time. And for that little truth maybe we should all be grateful.


Bill S. said...

I thought you would enjoy this!

I consider spending my precious weekday
evening watching something like this
as a kind of f**k you to Netflix,
Amazon Studios, and the like.
After all, that a B-programmer from the
silent era, which is almost 100 years old,
is far more entertaining than anything
on offer from those "platforms" is
a sorry comment on the state of "entertainment"
today, where only the straight-to-video action
films are worth watching.

Dix continued on successfully into talkies,
and his last big go-round was in the 1940's
with THE WHISTLER series of films at Columbia,
where he played a different role in each one,
the way Lon Chaney Jr. did in the Inner Sanctum
series. He's great in all of those playing a wide
variety of characters.


Alvin Bishop said...

The obscurities! Keep 'em comin', kiddo! Cheers! Alvin Bishop

debbie downer said...

lol have you seen a lot of movies starring harry dix? lol