Author Archives: John Bengtson

Charley Chase “Fast Work” Around Hollywood

Comedy fans are cheering the sparkling DVD release of 18 early Charley Chase talkie comedy shorts. Featuring Charley in top form, beautiful prints, and insightful bonus commentary, Charley Chase: At Hal Roach: The Talkies Volume One 1930-31, is simply fantastic. … Continue reading

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The “Never Give A Sucker An Even Break” Car Chase – Part 2

Universal’s 1941 production Never Give A Sucker An Even Break features W.C. Fields in his final starring role. The film ends with a Keystone Kops-style car chase when Fields frantically drives a matron to the maternity hospital, mistaking her to … Continue reading

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The “Never Give A Sucker An Even Break” Car Chase – Part 1

Universal’s 1941 production Never Give A Sucker An Even Break features W.C. Fields in his final starring role. Directed by Edward Cline (Buster Keaton’s early co-writer/director) the movie ends with a frantic Keystone Kops-style car chase around the produce/warehouse district … Continue reading

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Farewell – a sudden lost Our Gang landmark

During the Our Gang comedy Bouncing Babies (1929), Wheezer seeks to return his annoying baby brother to the hospital, unaware that the bundle snuggled in the crib is only a doll. In order to cross a busy intersection, Wheezer throws … Continue reading

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The Red Kimono – A Vast Record of Early Los Angeles

The Red Kimono (1925), a searing drama notably produced and written by women, captures a remarkably comprehensive visual record of early Los Angeles. From Broadway and posh gated communities to Chinatown and the amusement park piers, these settings, along with … Continue reading

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Another Lois Weber First – Using Locations

In her day, pioneering producer/director/screenwriter Lois Weber ranked alongside D.W. Griffith and Cecile B. DeMille as one of the most successful and influential filmmakers of any gender. As historian Cari Beauchamp writes, though little known today, Weber was the first … Continue reading

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Keaton’s “What No Beer?” Barrel Avalanche

As Jim Kline writes in The Complete Films of Buster Keaton, MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer had already drafted Keaton’s termination letter by the time filming of What No Beer? completed in January 1933. For better or worse, this … Continue reading

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