13 August 2012 | GManfred
Twenty-Three Skidoo, It's The Bees Knees!
Thought I'd trot out some 20's jargon to describe this very entertaining roaring twenties film. It is presented tongue-in-cheek and is a satire on stuffy prohibition-era morality. A staid, boring couple plan a staid, boring house party at about the same time the sister of the wife plans to visit. Her arrival takes place while the party is ongoing, and everyone is aghast - her knees are showing beneath a short skirt! The reaction of the guests is priceless, as the camera pans around on several of them with mouths open, chins hitting the floor.
As if things weren't bad enough (or funny enough), she unleashes a torrent of flapper-era expressions which indicate what a funeral she thought the party was and proceeds to take matters into her own hands. She asks the band to play something 'hot' and shows a few Charleston-like maneuvers and asks a man to join her. No one had evidently ever seen the like before. Finally, some young buck asks if she would like to go for a ride in his motor car, rescuing her from reproach and rebuke - and this is only about the halfway point of the picture.
Most of us weren't alive in the 20's and this film is as revelatory as it is humorous. The tenor of the story is hyperbolic in nature but it is great fun, a satirical look into a clash of cultures from an earlier time. It was shown on a print from the Library of Congress at Capitolfest, Rome, N.Y. 8/12.