Tuesday 10 April 2007

The Speed Kings (1913) Wilfred Lucas

It's Keystone again and it's Earl Cooper and Teddy Tetzlaft who are credited on the title card. They are two real life racecar drivers, obviously famous enough for Tetzlaff's name to be spelled incorrectly, and they feature goodheartedly in a pretty dumb plot. Mabel Normand's father, played by Keystone Cop Ford Sterling, is a the type of villain you'd see in the serials with his grimace and his goatee. He picks Earl, #8, and Mabel picks Teddy, #44. Quite what they're picking them for or why they should be picking anyone at all is not made clear but villainous dad is out to sabotage things.

When the race comes it runs exactly as you'd expect, except Fatty Arbuckle is there to kick both Mabel and Ford off the track. Villainous father carries on grimacing and being generally villainous. Mabel keeps running away. Teddy's car breaks but they fix it. You can tell how impressed I am with this, can't you?

The early car race footage looks good and there are in car cameras of various descriptions: mounted on the car in front looking back or on the car itself looking back, but never looking forward. I'm no car nut but this looks like great footage for anyone who's into early car racing or even just early cars. Unfortunately there's not really anything else here at all that isn't embarrassing to watch.

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