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Seven Years Bad Luck

Draft Review by Dean Duncan May 21, 2015

Unless its That’s My Wife–the inadequate titling of the Linder compilation doesn’t diminish the enjoyment, but it makes it hard to know what film you’re watching, or when it was made; maybe this contributes to the slight incoherence of the story, as the competing suitor, the trainmaster stuff and the jailing don’t quite make sense, and it’s the great bits that linger in the memory, and not the way they’re put together; this needs no apology as leading to Chaplin, as it stands completely on it’s own, Max is a rounded and fascinating character, a bit foppish but more than willing to get into a scrap, often in trouble, but exuberantly innovative in the way he gets out; it’s obviously not only Chaplin who was inspired by this, as the boots behind the curtain, one man fighting as two material went straight into Mighty Like a Moose (which has the added pleasure of the woman not just trembling but actually catching on to the deception, and turning it to her own advantage), the mourning Max getting pulled into a crazy hula dance suggesting prime Roach–Laurel and Hardy waylaid by a jigsaw puzzle, especially Chase’s Hawaiian jig in Young Ironsides (and Chases’ [Lloyd’s] musical enthusiasms in general)–the broken mirror routine that was duplicated in Duck Soup, all show that Linder was an essential conduit from the music hall and vaudeville forms to their transpositions into film, and that he was a conduit that had made all the routines his own, and had doubtless added a bunch that he himself was responsible for; I also like the silhouette gag that opens it, the music lesson, and the superb sneaking onto the train sequence, the last joke, with the five trailing little Maxes, is very lame, however