Reno or Bust (1924)

Short, Comedy


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Cast & Crew

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Archie Mayo


Frank Roland Conklin (story)

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1 May 2006 | boblipton
| Bobby Vernon
Bobby Vernon has just been married to Lila Lee, but her parents object and kidnap her to Reno, where, if not rescued, they will be divorced. It probably wouldn't hold up before a judge, but it does produce a fairly funny movie.

The thing is, Vernon is not particularly funny in this amusing comedy. Yet he had a history in vaudeville, worked for Sennet in such classic comedies as TEDDY AT THE THROTTLE and, after sound came in and he retired from performing to become a writer of comedies at Paramount. So we can see him not as a traditional movie clown, who performs pratfalls, but as a light leading man in this movie, with the comic bits inserted as appropriate and filmed for best comic effect -- there's one in which he steps on a sponge on a hotel register --I have no clear idea why it would be there -- and it squirts someone in the eye. We don't see Vernon in medium shot doing this. Instead the cameraman cuts to a medium closeup of his foot and lower leg, the sponge and the squirt's victim's head: the gag is emphasized, not the performer.

It's not the best way of shooting a comic performance -- the classic clowns always were careful to shoot in such a way, when performing their real gags, to show you there was no camera trickery, But to shoot that gag in a medium shot would be to lose it. So Vernon and director Archie Mayo chose the gag rather than the performer.

That's by no means the best gag in the movie. There are others, much better. Enough, I think, to make this worth your time.

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Short | Comedy


Release Date:

23 March 1924



Country of Origin


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