The Great Movies – 100 Years of Film, brings the next recommendation to sit alongside Buster Keaton’s performance in The General. This time it’s a Charley Chase short.
Charley Chase plays Mr. Moose, Vivien Oakland is Mrs. Moose, they’re a married couple, and each of them has a physical deformity that they hate about themselves, and they fear makes them a bit of a laughingstock. Mr. Moose has a terrible overbite, and bad teeth, while Mrs. Moose has a terrifyingly horrific nose.
Both of them have saved for surgery, without telling the other, and conveniently, as these things go, both of them have scheduled their appointment for the same building, day and time.
They bump into their newly improved spouse while waiting for the elevator, and flirting and eyeing one another ensues (how do they not recognize one another’s clothes, I don’t know – but they don’t even share a bedroom, so that may have something to do with it).
Mr. convinces Mrs. to attend a party with him that night, both of them lying to the other about being married, and they both race home, by opposite routes to get ready.
What follows is a fun sequence as they both sneak around the house in a lot of visual near misses as they both attempt to avoid one another, and sneak out and have a bit of fun.
They have a wonderful evening out, until the party they are at is raided by the police and their photo ends up on the front page of the paper… hello divorce court.
As they both find their way back to their very nice sized home, Mr cottons to the fact that the stunning woman is actually his wife, and decides to have a little fun with her, by pretending to be both her dentally-maligned husband as well as her stunning suitor, which culminates in a hilarious sequence which sees him having a fist fight with himself.
It’s halfway through this, that Mrs. realizes that husband and suitor are one and the same, and gets her revenge on him.
This is a fun little short, produced by Hal Roach, who, of course, gave us the wonderful Our Gang and Little Rascal shorts, and this one is almost as entertaining as one of those, though I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Spanky and the gang.
Chase is fun and engaging, breaking the fourth wall at one point to flash a big smile at his audience as he gets one over on his wife.
The film’s editing and pacing, clocking in at just over 22 minutes, makes for a quick enjoyable romp.
It’s a simple, fun, goofy romp, and is decidedly a lot of fun.
Have a look at it below, while I go on to tackle the next title recommendation from The General.