Silent Saturday: Long Pants
1927 dark comedy
Plot: Shielded by the 1920's equivalent of helicopter parents, young Harry finally graduates from knickerbockers to long pants. He meets a criminal and impresses her with an array of bicycle stunts but is forced into another marriage and dreams of killing his newlywed in order to reconnect with the real object of his affection.
Frank Capra is credited for directing this, but it seems he was fired for creative differences with the star. Langdon wanted to take his character into some pretty dark places, and Capra wasn't a fan of the idea. I think Langdon was likely right as the dark comedy is really the only reason to watch this 1927 flick. The ideas are ahead of their time, and there's something daring about the idea of watching the star fantasize about killing his innocent wife. It almost clashes with the more typical silent comedy and slapstick. Langdon, who I think is pretty unlikable anyway, runs into things, pratfalls, and performs those aforementioned bicycle stunts. The bicycle stunts show him at his best, but there's absolutely nothing ingenious about the rest of this. Langdon just isn't as funny as Chaplin, Keaton, or Lloyd. So although I appreciate that this takes some chances that most creative minds in the silent era wouldn't think about touching, it ultimately just isn't all that entertaining or funny.
Other Langdon films on the blog: The Chaser, Three's a Crowd, The Strong Man.