15 October 2007 | kmoh-1
Straightforward Masquers' Club Fare
The Masquers' Club, together with RKO Pathe, made a series of two-reel shorts in the 30s, distinguished by off-the-wall humour, giant casts, and an end-of-term amateurism that is as often irritating as charming. The Great Junction Hotel is a very typical example, with a better cast than it deserves including Edward Everett Horton doing his usual nervous routine, Frank McHugh as a peeping Tom and Tom Dugan as a detective. There is a great deal of mugging, and with a cast of dozens to be marshalled over two basic sets, an awful lot of running around. As characters appear and disappear, it is never quite clear whether they are significant; a couple ("Mr & Mrs Jones") who appear in the opening scene are clearly meant to be unmarried, but their suspicious behaviour is milked for a couple of nice gags before they disappear, never to be seen again. Never as funny as it thinks it is, it passes twenty minutes painlessly, though the viewer is pleased to see the closing credits.