Archive for Lonesome Luke

The Sunday Intertitle: Luke Out

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on August 11, 2019 by dcairns

OK, one last Lonesome Luke film, LUKE JOINS THE NAVY. It seems to be the last one on YouTube, increbibly: they’re all out of copyright so I thought there might be lots.

This one is… short and mostly inoffensive. There’s a little dwarf-kicking, but they expect it, don’t they. The film looks to be only a fragment or truncation. Lloyd shows great agility. There’s even an intertitle, luckily for me, though it looks modern and who knows if even the wording is authentic?

Again, there’s no real difference between Snub Pollard’s character and Luke’s. Why have the little guy at all? When Harold discovered the “glasses character,” who quickly revealed a gentler side, Snub almost immediately became the heavy, which gave him a reason for being there. And maybe it’s OK to have a short, stocky villain? Like Yosemite Sam? Although I think in the later features Lloyd always benefitted from being up against impossible odds, otherwise it was too obvious that the clean-cut boy next door was going to win.

My favourite bit here might be the zero tolerance approach to pathos. Luke definitively loses the girl (an embryonic Bebe Daniels, I think) less than a minute in, and launches into a vile, gurning bawl. An old-timer smacks him hard in the face, and he snaps right out of it and gets back to his knockabout. Good!

The Sunday Intertitle: Use Force, Luke!

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on August 4, 2019 by dcairns

LUKE’S MOVIE MUDDLE (1916) AKA THE CINEMA DIRECTOR… gets by, like MENILMONTANT and THE LAST LAUGH, without intertitles, though this particular print, the sharpest on YouTube, has no main title either.

But text seems uncalled-for, as the action is so basic. If last week’s Luke short was just people hitting each other with clubs, and it was, this one is all people being shoved into an out of chairs. The site of suffering shifts downwards from cranium to coccyx.

All very limited, but short enough not to outstay its welcome. And there’s nostalgia for the day when your fellow customers’ hats were the biggest nuisance you faced in the audience. Actually, no — 1916 punters no doubt talked loudly, crunched their food, rustled their wrappers and laughed in the wrong places, we just don’t get that here because its a silent film.

The Sunday Intertitle: The Kind That Has A Club That Belongs To Him

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on July 28, 2019 by dcairns

I got curious about Lonesome Luke, Harold Lloyd’s pre-glasses character (I’m *still* curious about Willie Work, his OTHER pre-G.C.).

Turns out that Lloyd, like Chaplin (HIS PREHISTORIC PAST), Keaton (THE THREE AGES) and Laurel & Hardy (THUNDERING FLEAS FLYING ELEPHANTS) had a Stone Age jaunt, via dream sequence in this case.

As it’s directed by Hal Roach, it gets bogged down pretty quickly. A bunch of characters in pelts pelt each other with clubs. One becomes conscious of the potential for confusion in a society where a blow on the head can be part of a mating ritual OR an act of aggression. It would be pretty easy to misread the signals, especially when suffering blunt force trauma to the brain.

This whole caveman bit is people hitting each other with clubs. It makes the average Punch and Judy show look like À la recherche du temps perdu. They don’t even vary it by having a woman heft a bludgeon. Matriarchal society my ass. It would be fair to say that Stone Age comedy gets old fast.

The anarchic brutality of the framing story is quite a bit more entertaining.

Hal Roach used to worry about the tran slation onf intertitles, something that was out of his hands. Here, we get, alternatively, “Officer 728 was like two rounds of fries,” and “Officer 728 couldn’t get a headline.” I don’t find the context any help, either.

Fascinating to see many of Harold’s familiar expressions and mannerisms emerge through a totally different character. Like Mr. Laurel, he can play someone different, but watching today we can’t help notice the similarities, because the same face muscles are being used.

Obviously, though — REALLY obviously — there’s no meaningful delineation between Lloyd/Luke and Snub Pollard as his chum. That’s going to need fixing.