October 3 marks the anniversary of the release date of W.C. Fields’ second film, the 1915 silent short His Lordship’s Dilemma.
Sadly, this movie is thought lost and very little is known about it. Probably of most interest to Fields’ fans, His Lordship’s Dilemma was where he committed his famous golf routine to celluloid for the first time (later resurrected in So’s Your Old Man (1926), The Golf Specialist (1930) and You’re Telling Me (1934).
Like his first film Pool Sharks, this film was made by the American branch of the French studio Gaumont. This brief early experiment in the cinema was clearly not successful enough to lure Fields away from his flourishing stage career. He went back to the theatre, and would not return t films again for a decade, with Sally of the Sawdust.
To learn more about comedy film history please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc
To learn about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.