23 July 2006 | boblipton
A Puzzling Failure
This movie was a fairly famous failure in its day, cut down afterward to a great two-reeler, CHASING CHOO-CHOOS. Many reasons have been offered as to why it failed -- mostly pacing issues -- but taking a look at it, it doesn't wash. It is a well-constructed movie, the gags are funny and heartfelt all the way through, and it doesn't sag in the middle. It is, in short, well worth your time. So why did it fail? I was struck with one possibility: there was no shortage of good slapstick features in this period, with the leads great comics: Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, Raymond Griffith at Paramount.... and certainly Keaton was having trouble turning out money-making features. And the four I named were not only top comics, they were also good-looking men too. Looking at Banks in this movie, one is struck by the fact that he looks like an ordinary fellow, obviously Italian, and one, perhaps, who could afford to cut down on the pasta.
Whatever its reasons for failure at the time, they don't apply now. If you get a chance to see this, as a cut-down short or in its original released length, don't pass it up.