10 April 2002 | tashman
Reid & Daniels have Star Power
Okay, it's the future and we only have the films we have, and thus, SICK ABED (1920) must be elevated to important status, if only for the two stars, Wallace Reid and Bebe Daniels, and its director, Sam Wood. Star appeal, star power, there's no question that it carries this picture. Reid was the forerunner to today's American light comedic lead, through Jimmy Stewart to Tom Hanks. Everything they said about him shines through here, the warmth, naturalness, the timing, the joviality, the athletic confidence, the Arrow-Collar looks. He's a forgotten original, and SICK ABED's not a bad example of his particular speciality. No less important, and much longer lasting, Bebe Daniels was smack dab in the middle of her featured player period, after her years with Harold Lloyd, and before her reign as one of the most popular screen comediennes of the late 20s, and she's marvelously cool and beautiful as the cool and beautiful nurse hired to look after a patient who is only faking a nervous breakdown. The reasons for this aren't terribly vital, it's a light play with plenty of doctors and lawyers, and a modest amount of mistaken identities and misunderstood intentions. The director kept things cracking, and the cast is fine, including the dependable Tully Marshall, and another enjoyable, eccentric turn by Lucien Littlefield. I'm told that Wallace Reid made much better movies than SICK ABED, and I know Bebe Daniels certainly did, but as an example of early 1920s romantic farce, and especially considering how few films of that era still exist, this one is in terrific shape, so it really is a more important film now, and deserves to be seen by more audiences.