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  • The eighth of Pete Smith's GOOFY MOVIES is a typical amusing entry in the series. After a newsreel showing a fashion show from 1913, replete with Smith's snarky comments, we are subjected to a mash-up of clips from silent movies, assembled in DR. HORSEKNUCKLE AND MR. HIVES.

    This one appears to be cut from a single movie, given the persistence of the lead actor. This sort of short, in which the wits of the 1930s made fun of old movies, because they were so modern and the movies were so out of date was a common sort of short. Modern audiences will likewise mock old movies, because we are so modern; presumably, our children will make fun of our efforts, because they will be so modern. It's a human foible throughout history.

    Yet Smith's commentary is funny, and the acting in whatever movie was sliced up into DR. HORSEKNUCKLE ET.C. is so out of date that I can't help but laugh. Isn't that what comedy is supposed to do?
  • This short is both great and horrible. There are some nice looks at rare and interesting turn of the century silents but they are ruined by the dreadfully bad humor of this "Pete Smith" guy who did a whole series of unwatchable voice over things that appear regularly on TCM. So unless your sense of humor is way different than mine, you may enjoy this episode with the sound off. Unfortunately the clips used are not identified but one, a fashion show, is dated 1913. The second appears to be a kind of Brechtian underground conspiracy of phony beggars type story, there are no titles and it's badly cut so the logic of it is difficult. It does, however, give you a look at the formality of film from an era of which 80% has been lost. The last has no I.D. but I say it has to be a Georges Melies and it's shown in entirety. It's a nutty thing about a guy having his arms, legs, and head amputated and the put back on in the wrong places, etc. Ironically, this last clip seems to symbolize the silly butchery that, until very recently, films of this era had to endure.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    . . . that 1993 American cinematic masterpiece, BOXING HELENA. Though the narrator here attributes this comedic beta version of director "Jennifer L.'s" darker follow-up to 1899, it's unclear whether this number references the year of production or the flick's budget (as in, $18.99). What is easily discernible from Lynch's inspiration is that the star actor featured in GOOFY MOVIES NUMBER EIGHT is making no bones about his multiple limb amputations. Unlike American actresses "Kim B." (who went bankrupt) and "Madonna" (who declared moral bankruptcy), this earlier protagonist is perfectly happy to roll with the punch (or bone saw). It's truly a shame that a pair of misogynist actresses succeeded in relegating BOXING HELENA to "cult film" status. GOOFY MOVIES NUMBER EIGHT suggests that such meritorious medical miracles material has much more potential than a mere $2 million domestic box office. Aspiring film makers may want to see GOOFY MOVIES NUMBER EIGHT, as they prep for their BOXING HELENA remake. (And surely they could not go wrong in casting "Mrs. Verlander" in its title role!)