1 January 2018 | kekseksa
Fairbanks boy scout - live healthy and die young
Although I am in general an admirer of the early comedies of Douglas Fairbanks and of the work of Loos and Emerson, this particular film represents the aspect of Fairbanks that I find least attractive -the rather facile advocate of optimism and self-help in the approved "boy scout" manner. In addition to this film Fairbanks produced a while stream of little books (ghost-written by the tubercular Kenneth Davenport), expounding his (extremely) home-spun philosophy of life. As his film were particularly aimed at an audience of young males, this "boy scout" image was was also an integral part of the Fairbanks system of self-publicity..
Davenport owed his tuberculosis in part to Fairbanks' open-air philosophy that he was now employed by a guilty Fairbanks to defend and might serve as a symbol of the somewhat fatuous nature of the Fairbanks philosophy. Fairbanks himself, despite his undeniable fitness and agility, as a young man, would die prematurely worn out at the early age of 58 after famously declaring ""I've never felt better.". He was not in the end quite such a good advert for the "boy scout" way of life.
Even at his feeblest, Fairbanks exudes charm and energy and the film has a certain distinctive quality that sets it apart from other "desert island" stories. One has to be a diehard Jeanette MacDonald fan or some kind of masochist to prefer the gruesomely corny musical comedy Let's Go Native, part (despite Leo McCarey) of the steady flow of detritus that flowed out of Hollywood in the immediate aftermath of the non-miracle of sound.