Sunday, August 25, 2013
Lupino Lane received more than the usual amount of publicity for Only Me (1929), which featured the lively comedian going it alone in 24 distinctly different roles. I wrote about this film extensively in The Funny Parts and Eighteen Comedians of Silent Films. I put together a collection of screencaps to aide me in writing a complete and accurate analysis of the fast-moving film. I thought that it might be interesting to post the screencaps.
The plot centers on an inebriated man who visits a theater and finds that everyone in the theater looks like him.
He should know that his visit to the theater will not go well as, even before he enters the building, he is attacked by a theater sign.
Lane has been criticized by many for his excessive use of wire effects. This is an instance where the comedian pointlessly uses a wire effect to insert himself into a theater box.
Lane accidentally yanks off a ballerina's artificial leg and thinks it would be a good idea to strum it like a banjo.
Lane plays a sailor, villainous landlord, a baby and a mother in a melodrama sketch.
It ain't a fit night out for man or beast.
The baby gets tossed around roughly and, when the sailor and landlord fight, the baby gets trampled under foot.
This is just the sort of baby doll abuse that I wrote about in a recent post.
The rest of the film takes its cues from the Fred Karno Company's famous "Mumming Birds" sketch. A bratty boy in a theater box assaults the entertainers with food and beverage.
The inebriated man is appalled by much of what he sees.
Eventually, he initiates a pie fight with the various members of the cast.
The film is a noble effort, but it is hampered by low-budget special effects. It lacks the technical virtuosity that Buster Keaton brought to The Playhouse (1921), a film that no doubt influenced Only Me.
I am a big admirer of Lupino Lane. He was an entertainer who managed to successfully redefine himself during the many stages of his long career. Here is a publicity portrait of a very young Lane that was made to publicize the pantomime "Babes In The Wood," which was staged at London's Lewisham Hippodrome.
This is one of the last portraits taken of Lane before his death in 1959.
Lane accomplished a great deal in his six decades as an entertainer. He abandoned Hollywood for the London theater, where he had immense success as a musical comedy star. Few comedians have enjoyed enduring popularity to the extent that Lane had.
Kudos, my good man!