TCM has a quartet of Charley Chase two-reelers scheduled in their Silent Sunday Nights timeslot this evening—three of which I have not seen and one that I was able to see when Kino released their second Chase collection back in September 2005. That short is Isn’t Life Terrible? (1925) and it’s a fitfully funny comedy, as evidenced by the heady praise I bestowed upon it at the time:
I also enjoyed Isn’t Life Terrible? (1925), in which a free ocean cruise won by Charley (for selling fountain pens—the housewife he tries to sell a pen to, incidentally, is played by King Kong’s Fay Wray) turns into a disaster of comic proportions. Terrible features a supporting performance from Oliver Hardy as Chase’s malingering brother-in-law Remington (“It’s lucky none of my things were in there!”) and was, I believe, his first appearance in a Chase two-reeler. (Hardy’s also in Bromo and Juliet , another short in this collection, playing a cab driver trying to get a fare owed to him by Charley’s inebriated future father-in-law.) Terrible is also—from what I understand—missing a bit of footage but fortunately this doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the film.
The three shorts I haven’t seen are Bad Boy (1925; which is on the Becoming Charley Chase collection recently released by VCI Entertainment—a set that I hope to crack open one of these days), The Uneasy Three (1925), and Mama Behave (1926). These last two shorts were originally going to comprise a fistful of comedies on a collection once proposed by Milestone (Cut to the Chase), but the only information as to the date when this will be forthcoming reads “Coming Soon.” (I’m not 100% certain on this, but I had heard a rumor or two that the project has been abandoned. If it’s a funding issue…well, I’m tapped out at the present but I’m certainly not too proud to pass a hat around if necessary.) I’m particularly pumped about seeing Three; I’ve heard quite a bit of positive buzz that this one is a doozy.
Sunday Silent Nights starts on TCM at 12:00 midnight EST and in between Terrible and Three they’re going to squeeze in the silent comedy short Help (1916) starring Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew. Sounds like must-see TV for silent comedy fans—so start those recorders already!