Sunday, April 3, 2011

Trapdoor Escapes

A standard in silent films was for a comedian to make a resourceful use of trapdoors to avoid capture during a breakneck chase scene.  This type of routine goes back to nineteenth-century British Pantomime.

Here is an early film version of the routine performed by Harold Lloyd for a 1918 comedy called Follow the Crowd.




One of the best choreographed versions of the routine appeared in Buster Keaton's The High Sign (1921). 

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This routine was used to a lesser extent in sound films.  Here is an example of the routine from Marx Brothers' last M-G-M feature, The Big Store (1941).

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