Good news! Volume 2 of Ben Model’s popular “Accidentally Preserved” series of rare silent film comedies is now out and available to purchase. As with Volume 1 this is a collection of movies that survived in prints for the home rental market. In many cases, the films represented are from the only known surviving print of the film. While the artists in the series are generally 3rd and 4th and even 10th string comedians, I never find watching these films less than rewarding (because historical) even if they are sometimes less than hysterical (although they often are that, too)
The best known comedian represented in the current set is Lloyd Hamilton, represented here in the 1927 short Papa’s Boy. I first caught this Norman Taurog directed comedy at Slapsticon in 2010. It casts Hamilton as a fey butterfly hunter who is sent by his wealthy father on a camping trip in order to get him to butch up. Ultimately all he does is burn his tent down.
Another well known comedian from the silent era is Bobby Vernon, here teamed with Jimmy Harrison in Why Wild Men Go Wild (1920). This wonderfully structured film has Vernon masquerading as a local “wild man” (inspired by Joe Knowles?) in order to impress a girl he fancies. Some of the stars of this film are behind the camera: director William Beaudine and cinematographer Edgar Ulmer.
Also on the bill of fare:
Alberta Vaughn plays her recurring character The Telephone Girl in Sherlock’s Home (1924) a comedy that has little to do with detectives and very much to do with an obnoxious boxer. This one was directed by Keystone vet Mal St. Clair, and also features Gertrude Short, Al Cooke, Kit Guard, and Gale Henry.
Helter Skelter unfortunately has nothing to do with Charles Manson, however a fancy mansion does get trashed. The 1929 comedy is a vehicle for the Jackie Cooganesque Malcolm “Big Boy” Sebastian, who sets out to sell his dog to pay for his mom’s ruined dress…and just ends up ruining a lot more stuff.
Minor comedian Henry Murdock gets a rare chance to star in Cook, Papa, Cook (1928), the obligatory domestic comedy where dad tries to do the cooking and winds up doing the burning.
To switch things up a little bit, the collection includes How Jimmy Won the Game (1928), an unexpectedly entertaining safety film in which we are instructed not to play with any blasting caps we happen to find.
And there are a couple of cartoons: Charlie on the Farm (1919) featuring an animated comic strip version of Charlie Chaplin doing routines likely inspired by The Tramp and Sunnyside, unencumbered by those troublesome laws of physics. And to top it all off, a 1925 ad for Christmas seals.
To order your copy go here: http://www.accidentallypreserved.com/