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Monday, 2 April 2007

Innocent Husbands (1925) Leo McCarey

After April Fool, anything remotely resembling a plot would be welcome and this one has both that and some actual acting to boot. Charley Chase plays Melvin, a nice guy who never does anything wrong but whose jealous wife Mame suspects him of everything under the sun. Mame is Katherine Grant and she's simply superb in the role. While she heads off to a seance to discover what her husband's been up to, he ends up in a party across the hall with an ugly date who passes out in his bedroom.

Chase is fine here but it's Katherine Grant who shines, even though she only has a small part. It looks like I've seen her before, in other shorts with Charley Chase or Laurel and Hardy, but she had a short career. After becoming Miss Los Angeles in 1922 she appeared in an Our Gang short called Saturday Morning then worked her way through 48 other films by 1926. I'm definitely going to watch out for more of her in the future.

The plot is solid too, though a couple of the gags are lame. I chuckled my way through all of this, especially the seance scene towards the end. This is much better than April Fool, but then it's twice the length and has a future Oscar winning director, Leo McCarey, who made a lot of Charley Chase films. The acting is good, the slapstick gets funnier throughout and everything wraps up nicely. I've seen fifteen Chase movies now and with the exception of Sons of the Desert, a Laurel and Hardy movie that he didn't star in, this is by far the best.

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