Disc 1 contains the programs “In the Beginning: Film Comedy Pioneers” and “Keystone Tonight!: Mack Sennett Comedies.”
One Too Many (1916) with Oliver Hardy and Billy Ruge. Plump (Hardy) needs a wife and baby to please his rich uncle. Runt (Ruge) and others are enlisted to help. Mayhem ensues. Transferred from a very-good 16mm reduction print, without its main title. Accompanied by synthesizer music by Brian Benison, which abruptly ends.
The Wrong Mr. Fox (1917) with Victor Moore. Ham actor Jimmie Fox (Moore) bound for Canaan, Vermont, is mistaken for Reverend John Fox bound for Canaan, New Hampshire. Jimmie’s ‘sermon’ is funny. From a very-good 35mm print. Accompanied by pipe organ music by Ken Rosen.
Mr. Flip (1909) with Ben Turpin (before his crosseyed character). Mr. Flip (Turpin) puts the ‘move’ on a series of disinterested females. From a very-good 16mm print. Accompanied by Fotoplayer music by Robert Israel.
Alkali Ike’s Auto (1911) with Augustus Carney. Alkali Ike (Carney) tries oneupsmanship with Mustang Pete for a widow’s affections, and ends up with an auto that is more trouble than it’s worth. From a very-good 35mm print that is missing its beginning and has a few splices. Accompanied by synthesizer music by Brian Benison.
Fox Trot Finesse (1915) with Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew. Reticent Ferdie Crosby (Drew) is forced by Mrs. Crosby (Lucille McVey Drew) to take up dancing, and he fakes a foot injury to get out of it. From a very-good composite 35mm and 16mm-based reconstruction print. Accompanied by synthesizer music by Brian Benison.
A Cure for Pokeritis (1912) with John Bunny and Flora Finch. A losing poker player (Bunny) swears off gambling for his wife (Finch), but cannot stop. From an excellent, though slightly worn, 35mm print with several splices. Accompanied by piano and violin music by Robert Israel.
Be My Wife (1921) with Max Linder. This abridged version of Linder’s very funny American feature comedy has Max (Linder) vying for Mary’s hand in marriage over the objections of Aunt Agatha (Flora Finch) who favors rotund Simon. From a very-good, though jittery, 35mm print. Accompanied by piano and violin music by Robert Israel.
A Natural Born Gambler (1916) with Bert Williams. Bert (Williams) is a member of a society that pretends to be against the gambling that they love. Williams heads a nearly all-black cast. From a very-good, but uneven and jittery, 35mm print with a number of splices. Accompanied by synthesizer music by Eric Beheim.
The Sennett program begins with Mabel’s Dramatic Career (1913) with Mabel Normand and Mack Sennett. Housemaid Mabel takes up film acting after beau Mack falls for another woman. From a very-good 16mm print of the ‘Keystone Eagle Films’ rerelease version known as Her Dramatic Debut. Accompanied by Fotoplayer music by Robert Israel.
Barney Oldfield’s Race for a Life (1913) with Mabel Normand and Mack Sennett. In this parody of film melodramas, Mabel is abducted by the moustached villain (Ford Sterling) and tied to railroad tracks until rescued, with the help of famous race car driver Barney Oldfield. From an excellent 35mm print (with an insert shot of the rescue from a good 16mm print). Accompanied by marimba music, with sound effects, by Michael Holland and the Ko-Ko-Nuts Theater Orchestra.
The Rounders (1914) with Charles Chaplin and Roscoe Arbuckle. Two drunks avoid their wives and disrupt a restaurant. From a very-good 16mm print that is missing its main title and the intertitles that still exist in other prints. The print and transfer are far better than the home video edition of the film from Kino International available on VHS, also previously released on laserdisc in 1988. Accompanied by music by Robert Israel, performed by an ensemble.
A Muddy Romance (1913) with Mabel Normand and Ford Sterling. A young couple (Normand and Sterling) fend off the overtures of any undesired suitor by draining a park lake. From a very-good, though worn and sometimes jittery, 35mm print. Accompanied by synthesizer music by Brian Benison.
A Movie Star (1916) with Mack Swain and Louella Maxim. Jack (Swain) is a big movie star, who goes to a neighborhood nickelodeon to see one of his own films. From a very-good 16mm print. Accompanied by Fotoplayer music by Robert Israel.
Teddy at the Throttle (1917) with Gloria Swanson and Bobby Vernon. Gloria loves Bobbie, but their guardian, Henry Black (Wallace Beery), wants to make himself rich with Bobbie’s estate and keep Gloria for himself. The jilted Black ties Gloria to railroad tracks in revenge. Will Teddy the dog save her in time? From an excellent, though worn, 35mm print. Accompanied by music by Robert Israel, performed by a small orchestra.
Condition: This DVD is in very good condition, is only missing the original cover.