The Monday Intertitle: Brave

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Sometimes the Sunday Intertitle switches to Monday. Because consistency is the hobgoblin of small men, and I am large, I contain multitudes of those guys.

Chaplin’s THE ADVENTURER counts as a late film (his last?) for Eric Campbell, the outsize fake Scotsman. In fact, Campbell’s entire career is late, compressing enough varied villainy into just a couple of years to ensure his screen legend status for eternity, or what we can anticipate of eternity.

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As a kid, I instantly loved Chaplin, because he was something like a cheeky kid himself, and I loved Campbell because he was big and operatic. After his early death, Chaplin never really replaced him, and in a way this sent Chaplin into more realistic storylines. No story containing Campbell’s eyebrows, even without the optional Svengali beard, could ever be realistic.

THE ADVENTURER tells its story briskly, with minimal titles — generally they set up a scene in a few words, then let it play out as pure knockabout. Big Eric is introduced showing off his muscles to Edna Purviance (that NAME! oh dear), then soon everyone has fallen in the water, to be rescued by an escaped convict in stolen swimwear (Chaplin). In wet trousers we see what an enormous arse Eric has. No wonder he successfully passed himself off as a Scotsman for so long.

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Thanks to all who participated in, and read, The Late Show late Films Blogathon this year! The world’s smallest blogathon just got smaller.

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2 Responses to “The Monday Intertitle: Brave”

  1. John Seal Says:

    David,

    This seems like an opportune time to try and settle the great Edna Purviance debate. I have always assumed her name was pronounced PUR-vee-ance. However, I have heard others pronounce it Pur-VY-ance. Can you help??

  2. I always thought it was pronounced Purveyance, as in Conveyance. And I base that on nothing at all. No reason why the name should be consistent with the different word, differently spelled.

    It COULD be pronounced Purvy-ance. Rhymes with curvy-pants.

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