Douglas Fairbanks in “The Matrimoniac”

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December 16, 1916 was the release date of The Matrimoniac, starring Douglas Fairbanks and Constance Talmadge.

This is one of the most physical, action-packed Fairbanks comedies, the whole picture essentially one long white-knuckle chase. Fairbanks and Talmadge are on their way to elope, with the girl’s father and a rival for her hand in hot pursuit. Doug manages to put his girl on a train, but misses it himself when he goes to get the minister. So then it’s a race to catch up to the train in various conveyances before the father and boyfriend can reach the girl. Later the sheriff comes into it — and Fairbanks’ acrobatic heroics are truly breath-taking. To stop the rival from stealing his bride, he leaps between buildings, hops over a six foot man, climbs on electrical wire, scales the side of a house, jumps from a cliff onto a tree….needless to say in the end, he achieves his objective. I often think of this comedy as a model for the climax to Harold Lloyd’s Girl Shy. Quite possibly the most watchable of all of Fairbanks’ romantic comedies.

For more on silent and slapstick comedy please see 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

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To find out more about show business past and presentconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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