W.C. Fields in “That Royle Girl”

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Today is the anniversary of the release date of That Royle Girl (1925). This was D.W. Griffith’s second film for Paramount Pictures, and his second to star Carol Dempster. Mid-way through the shooting, Griffith brought in W.C. Fields, who had appeared with Dempster in Griffith’s previous picture Sally of the SawdustFields was brought in as comic relief, playing Dempster’s drunken father. His is a minor role in the picture, most of which concerns Dempster as a poor girl who saves a musician (Harrison Ford — another Harrison Ford) from wrongful execution. The climax of the story was the big tornado scene, employing 24 airplane propellers as wind machines (hence the wreckage in the the photo still below). Sadly, the film is considered lost today, one of Fields’ many silent films not known to have survived.

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For more on silent and slapstick comedy, including films of W.C. Fields, please see my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media

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