Cruel and Unusual Comedy 2012 at MOMA (NY)

Silent Films at Moma: Cruel & Unusual Comedy

The ever excellent Ben Model, musician and clown historian par excellence, is at it again.  He along with the curators of MOMA are showing a series of silent short films that are rarely seen and comprise some amazing views into the sexual, political, race, and class elements of the early 20nth century.  More importantly, they are often very funny!

During this three weeks, there are three programs (listed below, along with the program and times) These are highlights from previous installments of this Cruel & Unusual Comedy Series, which I previewed in 2009 and 2010 
All films are silent with piano accompaniment by Ben Model. (unless otherwise noted)
Program 1: Gender Benders—Masculine Women/Feminine Men (approx 84 minutes)
Program 2: The Surreal Life—Dallying With the Absurd (approx 72 minutes)
Program 3: No Harm Done—Animals and Children (approx 80 minutes)
Don’t miss it if you get the chance to see it!

[tabs style=”1″] [tab title=”Program 1 info”] Program 1: Gender Benders—Masculine Women/Feminine Men

Rowdy Ann
1919. Directed by Al E. Christie. A Christie Comedies production. With Fay Tincher, Eddie Barry, Katherine Lewis, Harry Depp, Al Haymes, George B. French, Edgar Blue. As tough as any cowboy, Ann is sent back East to learn how to be a lady. 20 min.

Hearts and Flowers
1919. Mack Sennett. Directed by Edward Cline. A Paramount Pictures production. With Louise Fazenda, Ford Sterling, Phyllis Haver, Billy Armstrong, Jack Ackroyd, Kalla Pasha, Edgar Kennedy, Bert Roach, Charles Lynn, Eva Thatcher, Virginia Fox, Sybil Sealy, Sennett Bathing Beauties. A smarmy roue romances a flower girl he thinks is rich. 20 min.

Shanghaied Lovers
1924. Mack Sennett. Directed by Roy del Ruth. A Pathé production. With Harry Langdon, Kalla Pasha, Alice Day, Andy Clyde, Tiny Ward, Joe Young, George Cooper, Gordon Lewis, Eli Stanton. Kidnapped by pirates, a newly married couple engage in cross-dressing to protect themselves from the advances of a brutish captain. 15 min.

A Sorority Mix-Up
1927. Directed by Joseph Basil. A Bray Productions/Sunkist Comedies production. With Buddy Messinger, Anne Porter, Madelynne Field, Henry Roquemore, Mr. X (chimp), Alice Belcher, the Sunkist Bathing Beauties. Girls’ school hazing leads to human and animal drag. 14 min.

Crushed
1924. Directed by Fred Hibbard. A Hamilton Comedies/Educational production. With Lloyd Hamilton, Dorothy Seastrom, Blanche Payson, Robert McKenzie, Louise Carver, Mark Hamilton, Jack McHugh, Tommy Hicks. After a series of mishaps on the subway, effete Ham ends up married to bossy Amazon Blanche Payson, who surprises him with a brood of brats. 15 min.

Program approx. 84 min.

• Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 1:30 p.m.,
Theater 3, mezzanine, Education and Research Building (Musical accompaniment by Ben Model)
• Thursday, March 1, 2012, 1:30 p.m.,
Theater 2, T2

• Friday, March 2, 2012, 1:30 p.m.,
Theater 2, T2 (Musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin) [/tab]

[tab title=”Program 2 Info”] Program 2: The Surreal Life—Dallying With the Absurd

Some Hero
1916. Directed by Billy Dunn. An Eagle Film Company/Tweedledum Comedies production. With Manuel Fernandez Perez (aka Marcel Fabre), Babette Fabre (aka Nilde Barrachi). When Tweedledum’s girl is kidnapped by bad men, he springs into action. 11 min.

A Schoolhouse Scandal
1919. Directed by Eddie Cline. A Fox Film Corp./Sunshine Comedies production. With Slim Summerville, Ethel Teare, Tom Kennedy, Polly Moran, Harry Booker, Jack Cooper, James Donnelly, Francis Carpenter. A surrealistic stew of airplanes, tornadoes, trick mirrors, and underwater car repair. Footage was recycled for the studios’ 1920 release Hold Me Tight. 15 min.

Kiss Me Quick (aka Don’t Tickle)
1920. Directed by John G. Blystone. A Fox Sunshine Comedy production. With Clyde Cook, Blanche Payson, Bobby Dunn, Frank Alexander. Clyde gets in hot water with his Amazon wife and her tough sailor brother, culminating in a wrestling match and escape by airplane. 17 min.

All Wet
1922. Directed by Al St. John. A Fox Film Corp/Al St. John Comedies production. With St. John, Otto Fries, Ford West, Sy Jenks, Tiny Ward. A newly married couple find that their seaside home is too close to the water in this remake of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s Keystone short Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1916). The surrealistic undersea and rapid-growth visual effects were greeted as a refinement of the slapstick form. Scholar Steve Massa believes this may be the first film Arbuckle directed anonymously after his infamous sex scandal. 20 min.

Egged On
1926. Directed by Charles Bowers, Harold L. Muller. An R. C. Pictures Corp./Whirlwind Comedies production. With Bowers, Winifred Leighton. An inventor of unbreakable eggs hatches himself a brood of infant Model-T automobiles. 19 min.

Program approx. 72 min.

 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012, 1:30 p.m.,
Theater 3, mezzanine, Education and Research Building (Musical accompaniment by Ben Model)
Thursday, March 8, 2012, 1:30 p.m.,
Theater 3, mezzanine, Education and Research Building (Musical accompaniment by Ben Model)

Friday, March 9, 2012, 1:30 p.m.,
Theater 3, mezzanine, Education and Research Building (Musical accompaniment by Ben Model) [/tab]

[tab title=”Program 3 Info”] Program 3: No Harm Done—Animals and Children

An Elephant on Their Hands
1912. Directed by Frederick Thomson. A Vitagraph production. With George Ober, Kate Price, Flora Finch, Lillian Walker, Robert Gaillard, Charles Eldridge, Hughie Mack. While in his cups, an older gentleman buys a surprise for his family—one that eats peanuts and weighs 11,000 pounds. 10 min.

Cat, Dog and Co
1929. Directed by Anthony Mack. A Hal Roach production. With Our Gang (Joe Cobb, Wheezer, Farina, Mary Ann Jackson, Jean Darling, Harry Spear, Pete the pup, Hedda Hopper, Dorothy Vernon, Syd Saylor, Silas Wilcox, Robert McGowan). Wheezer enjoys mistreating animals, until they take their revenge. 18 min.

Mind the Baby
1924. Directed by Al Herman. A Century Comedy production. With Pal, Lillian Biron, Fred Spencer. Pal the dog saves a kidnapped baby from raging waterfalls and hungry alligators. 18 min.

The Knockout
1923. Directed by Len Powers. A Hal Roach production. With The Dippy-Doo-Dads. Intelligent monkeys, dogs, and ducks enact a spoof of boxing dramas. 10 min.

When Summer Comes
1922. Directed by Roy Del Ruth. A Mack Sennett production. With Billy Bevan, Mildred June, Kewpie Morgan, Billy Armstrong, Jack Cooper, Tiny Ward, Hughie Mack, Edgar Blue, John Rand, Cubby. Rampaging lions are on the loose in a hunting lodge. 18 min.

Program approx. 80 min.

 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 1:30 p.m.,
Theater 3, mezzanine, Education and Research Building (Musical accompaniment by Ben Model)
Thursday, March 15, 2012, 1:30 p.m.,
Theater 3, mezzanine, Education and Research Building (Musical accompaniment by Ben Model)
Friday, March 16, 2012, 1:30 p.m.,
Theater 3, mezzanine, Education and Research Building (Musical accompaniment by Ben Model)

[/tab]

[/tabs]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.