Wednesday 11 April 2007

Bangville Police (1913) Henry Lehrman

A 'Farce Comedy', it says on the title card, as if we wouldn't have been able to work that out anyway. A young girl apparently lives on a farm and wants a little calf to go with their cow. She doesn't have a name because it's 1913, but most of the young girls without names in 1913 were Mabel Normand and this time is no exception. Anyway, she overhears a couple of bad guys plotting in her barn, so naturally she calls the Keystone Cops. Laughter hopefully ensues.

The name of the Keystone Cops has become something of a stereotype, so it's interesting to see what they were actually like. Hopefully they got better than this. They have an outrageous car to go with their outrageous facial hair and they run around with their outrageous guts and fall over a lot. They aren't particularly funny, especially as the few laughs come from Mabel Normand rather than the Cops anyway.

The biggest problem with the film though is the lack of any consistency whatsoever. The burglars vanish and everyone's happy to have a calf. The end. Huh? I honestly thought that my copy must have been missing a few minutes of running time but apparently not: it's only a one reeler. Maybe 1913 audiences just didn't care.

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