The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Movie of the Week #15

Max reprend sa liberté
(Troubles of a Grass Widower)
(Max Linder; 1912)

The beauty of this affable domestic morality play by Max Linder rests entirely with the actor/director's seemingly inexhaustible ability to balance his ineffably graceful screen presence against the stock character of a less than competent husband, consigned to his own dysfunctional devices after the wife runs home to Mother. Linder's comedies were always like this; forever two steps less unhinged, even in their slapstick elements, than the lovely knockabout grotesquerie of Keystone; and with a shade more emphasis on character. Though never as wildly successful in the States as the pantheon comics (Chaplin, Arbuckle, Keaton, Lloyd, etc), each of these eminences nevertheless took away something from Linder's work, without which their work, indeed the soul of American screen comedy itself, would have assumed a very different, possibly less charming form.


swac said...

I always liked how Chaplin never hid his admiration for Linder and his work, referring to him as "The Professor."

Somewhere there's footage of the two together, during Linder's sojurn in the States. I think it's on one of the Warner Chaplin DVDs.

Vanwall said...

Yes, I saw that little get together - it was obvious that Chaplin was a bit deferential, but not obsequiously so. For someone with as big an ego as Chaplin to show any such level at all speaks volumes for his admiration. My son's silent comedy exposure in film school sadly made no mention of Linder, and I don't see much enlightenment coming in the near future, so I try to throw a little his way myself.


convict 13 said...

Thank you so much for showing this, I've never seen any of Linder's work before and only knew of him through Chaplin's mention of his admiration of his work.