Apocalypse Later Empire

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Saturday, 12 January 2008

Fool's Luck (1926) William Goodrich

Star Lupino Lane was apparently the uncle of Ida Lupino, who would go on to be a far bigger star than him and a great director too. However he was far from without talent himself and comes off like a cross between Buster Keaton and Edward Everett Horton. He's living the highlife at the expense of his uncle, but then he receives a telegram to point out that no more money will be forthcoming. Suddenly he's forced to move very quickly indeed and get to his girl and her father's money.

This was the fourth short TCM showed as part of their tribute to Roscoe Arbuckle's directorial career and it's by far the best, but it's also far from original. The obvious influence is to Buster Keaton, hardly surprising given that Keaton started out working for Arbuckle a decade before this film. However some of the gags here, which are well managed, are complete steals from his material. In particular the whole gag on the train tracks is stolen directly from Keaton's masterpiece One Week, made six years earlier. It makes me wonder whether the other decent gags here were stolen too: the grand piano fall, the solitaire in the bathtub etc.

I'm intrigued by Lupino Lane. He doesn't have the charisma of a Chaplin, Keaton or Lloyd, but he certainly has something. I'll look out for him now and see if he becomes a new favourite like Larry Semon or just another interesting character with moments of genius like Charley Chase.

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