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TSFF Preview: 1000 Laffs – Playmates

buster keaton-fatty arbuckle-backstage-toronto silent film festival

You do not have a silent film fest until you bring in the clowns and Toronto Silent Film Festival will be delivering the goods on April 1 with 1000 Laffs – Playmates, a program of silent shorts. Silent comedy is, of course, dominated by the holy auteur trinity of Buster Keaton – Charline Chaplin – Harold Lloyd. The feature films of those clowns are the apotheosis of silent comedy, arguably of silent cinema in general. Ah, but silent shorts! Shorts are like little bite sized bits of comedy nirvana, and of course you can’t have just one.

This year Toronto Silent Film Festival focuses on comedy duos, or trios as the case maybe. We’ve got Buster and Fatty Arbuckle in Backstage. We’ve got Chaplin, Edna Purviance, and Eric Campbell in The Cure. We’ve got Harry Langdon and Vernon Dent is Saturday Afternoon. We’ve got Stan Laurel and Larry Semon in Frauds and Frenzies. And last, but by no means least, we’ve got comedy’s most dynamic duo, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Can you think of  a better way to while away a Sunday afternoon?

If you’re a hardcore silent film fanatic and you’re trying to lure a newbie into the medium, comedies are always a great route in. If you’re silent-curious, you won’t find a better introduction than this program of yucks and chucks. When you see a silent comedy, especially one with a very large man paired with a very small man, in a theater with a howling audience, you’ll be hooked for life. But first, you gotta show up. Get over to Toronto Silent Film Festival to secure your tickets.

Screening details:

1000 Laffs: Playmates

Musical Interpretation: Bill O’Meara

Sunday April 1, 2012
The Fox Theatre 2236 Queen Street East. Toronto
(Queen East between Beech and Willow)
Tickets $12.00/$10.00 Seniors and members

The Toronto Silent Film Festival Program

March 29 – Our Dancing Daughters

March 30 – Tabu: A Tale of the South Seas

March 31: Blood and Sand

April 2: The Italian Straw Hat

April 3: Variety

Film Friday | Weekly Roundup

So, first thing this morning, my computer informs me it has VERY IMPORTANT updates to install and would like to install them NOW. I said, no, no… I have a Friday Film Roundup post to write and politely asked it to just hold its horses. Then, when the post was near completed, poof! The computer refuses to wait any longer and shuts down. Well, crud (or something slightly saltier). The good news: I didn’t lose the post! When my obstinate coworker, Mr. HP, finally rebooted, my draft was patiently waiting for me. So I know it’s going to be a fine Friday, with luck and sunshine raining down on me. So let’s get on with! Here’s come good stuff from the interwebs. Happy reading and happy viewing! Read the rest of this entry

Happy Birthday Oliver Hardy

stan laurel-oliver hardy


Today is Oliver Hardy’s 120th birthday. Ollie was good for lots of laughs so I suggest you celebrate by watching a Laurel & Hardy flick or two (or three). I highly recommend The Music Box, Swiss Miss, and Flying Deuces. But if you’re stuck in the office ’til 5pm, put on your headphones and watch Stan and Ollie on “This is Your Life” from 1954.

The Trickster Imp | Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde (1925)

While poking around yesterday, I came across “Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde,” a silent spoof of the perennial “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”I’ve long been a fan of Laurel & Hardy movies. While aware that the due first appeared in silent comedies, I’ve yet to have the privilege of seeing a silent Laurel & Hardy. True, this is Laurel sans Hardy, but this short is a delightful little gem, demonstrating not only the comic flexibility of Stan Laurel, but illustrating a comedic talent poised and capable of translating silent slapstick in the coming storm of sound films. Read the rest of this entry

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