Saturday, May 23, 2009

DVD: Harry Langdon -- May 23, 2009

I watched Kino's DVD with two Harry Langdon features which I had never seen before. The picture quality was very sharp, except where the only surviving material suffered from nitrate decomposition. I have always liked the grey scales in late silents.

I remember reading Walter Kerr's comments about both movies. We're lucky to be able to see the movies on DVD nowadays. He might have had some different throughts.

Three's a Crowd was not a standard comedy. There were some absurdist elements and some things that were just strange. I was sorry that the montage with the doll was so deteriorated. I watched it a second time with the commentary. The commentator is a strong Langdon defender. He didn't refer much to events in the movie. He mostly talked about Landon's financial issues and how Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd also made movies that were not great financial successes in the same year. Contrary to comments I have read, I only saw one set of shots that didn't match, when the father went to shake Langdon's hand at the end.

The Chaser was more conventional, but it had its moments. It reminded me of "Saturday Afternoon." I liked the tracking shots from the kitchen to the dining room to the living room and back. The car running away down the hill looked very much like a 1920s Sennett effect.

The DVD made me appreciate these movies. Now I want to go back and see his other silent features.

Today we had a quiet day. I got my poppy at Safeway. I told the lady she was brave to be standing out in the cold and wind.

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