W.C. Fields in “His Lordship’s Dilemma”

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October 3 marks the anniversary of the release date of W.C. Fields’ second film, the 1915 silent short His Lordship’s Dilemma.

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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 Mediaalso available from amazon.com etc etc etc

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To learn about the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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5 comments

  1. In spite of being unseen for a century, I hope that this film will turn up, and that we all will be able to see the 35 year-old Fields do his golf routine for the camera. This would be an interesting and funny movie to enjoy.

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  2. Take that IMDb review with a few tons of grain of salt… It was writ by F Gwynplaine McIntyre whose main hobby evidently was to post detailed reviews of many many lost films. If the only reason to believe in a Belgium print is HIS say-so, then forget about it. (OTOH, if a previous source of such a find existed, he may have latched onto that factoid to spice his fictitious account. Regardless, he did not see it.)
    He was an intriguing figure though in spite of his loopy game — research this “McIntyre” and you’ll find the stuff for a story of its own.

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      • He wrote scifi/fantasy and that’s all I know for sure — I have one of his books. But the man himself was a cypher & evidently a misanthrope. He *claimed* to have lived all manner of adventures & travels. But for the last several years he didn’t venture out of his apartment, which was packed with a hoarder’s trove of paperwork. Finally he torched the place and was immolated in the flaming debris of his “treasure”. God only knows his real name.

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