30 September 2017 | gian_99
I recently discovered Larry Semon because he has become proverbial in Italy. Well, not with his name... American comedians used to get local names in Europe in the 20s and 30s. And Larry Semon was called "Ridolini" (ridere is the Italian verb for "to laugh", but the nickname sounds like a family name, so that would translate to something like "Mr. Laughly").
My grandmother used to call me and my brother "Ridolini" when we did something funny as children do. When asked, she told me the name came from a comedian who was very famous when she was young (she was born in the mid 10s). Recently I found myself using the word to my son and I got thinking "Whoever was this guy?" - the technology of this decades lets you discover things... fast. So here I am online, watching this movie off You Tube and discovering my beloved IMDb has next to nothing on this movie and other of the same actor (who was considered in the same league as "Crik e Crok" - Laurel and Hardy or "Charlot" - Charlie Chaplin). Now, Italy did like slapstick comedy more than other, more developed I may say, kinds of comedy. For instance, the Marx brothers were not nearly as famous in Italy as they were in anglosaxon countries, and I must say Charlie Chaplin was well liked because he did put lots of physical, down to earth laughs in movies which contained much more than that (and I suspect the Italian public of back then did not really get the much more). I do rather like the Marx brothers, but... Larry Semons, and this movie in particular, did steal some laughs for me.
The scenes are... fast, breakneck fast, absurdly violent: I believe it is totally meant to be like that. You should watch this kind of comedy thinking about watching a cartoon. People get thrown down a ravine and walk out, which is absurd, but the absurd was part of the laugh. That said... This guy was good. Hardy was also good as the bad, violent guy who owns the neighborhood.
The movie is fast, fast paced and does not have much of a meaning except what you see on screen, which is just basic. histrionic, brainless fun. At that, it works perfectly, which is why I will give it an 8. A pity this guy has been forgotten (in America: not in Italy where curious sonorized versions of his movies were still getting laughs in the '70s - I am not that old, and by the '80s it had disappeared, but TV was still quite full of Laurel and Hardy).