Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Kickstarter for new DVD collection of silent film comedian Lloyd Hamilton

As the thematic bent of this blog for the past few weeks has been silent comedy and silent movies - and the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum will be presenting their annual Charlie Chaplin Days event this coming weekend - we're pleased as perky pomegranates to support another fundraiser which will bring more vintage silent era comedy goodness to DVD.

This time around, the Kickstarter is not on behalf of Marcel Perez a.k.a. The International Mirth-maker, but to bring to DVD six rare surviving short subjects starring the sad sack schlemiel with the checkered cap and the waddling duck walk, Lloyd Hamilton.

Hamilton's perpetually "born under a bad sign" character is reminiscent of Gleason's "The Poor Soul" (which could be described as 1/3 Gleason, 1/3 Lloyd Hamilton and 1/3 Harry Langdon) albeit a lot crankier, as well as a bit of a rake and a scoundrel.

This campaign originates from Great Britain and historian Dave Glass, in association with Dave Wyatt. Mr. Glass writes: "Hamilton’s comedy style was truly original. Like Harry Langdon’s, it was nuanced and reaction-based, but much more sardonic than any of the major comics.

Each film saw him stumble from catastrophe to calamity, hopelessly trying to maintain his ill-fitting sense of dignity and superiority. Chaplin, Keaton and Sennett all remembered him in later years as a major talent, but the majority of his films are lost, so this chance to see his films on DVD is a not-to-be-missed opportunity.

The disc will be Region Free and made to NTSC (USA standard) which also plays on UK/Euro machines. They will be mastered from 16mm prints which will be scanned digitally to provide the best possible quality and gently restored where necessary."

The films to be featured include the following four Mermaid Comedies produced in 1920 by Jack White (known to Three Stooges fans as "Preston Black") for Astra Pictures:

Dynamite (note - "blacking up" was such a common show business practice in the late 19th and early 20th century that Trinidad-born Ziegfeld Follies comedy star Bert Williams wore blackface on stage - and, if this ad is any indication, few actors besides Williams were more ill-suited to blackface than Lloyd Hamilton)

The Simp

April Fool, directed by another comedy great from the silent and early sound era, Charley Chase


Moonshine as well was directed by Charley Chase and even features the future Hal Roach Studios star in a small role.

Also on the DVD, the recently rediscovered 1919 Lloyd Hamilton Fox comedy, His Musical Sneeze, courtesy of the Danish Film Institute.

The gags involving a wascally Bugs Bunny style rabbit make one wonder if Tex Avery happened to catch this 2-reeler as the comedy short subject before the feature film at a Taylor, TX movie palace.

There will also be A Home Made Man, a 1928 entry from the Hamilton Comedies series produced by Educational Pictures.

The Kickstarter for the Lloyd Hamilton DVD runs through July 26.

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