Reviewin’ the Box: Slapstick Encyclopedia

With the publication of the Volume 10 post last week, the Slapstick Encyclopedia project is officially finished! Here’s a wrap-up of everything we’ve covered in the past ten weeks.

The Posts

Volume 1: In the Beginning
Volume 2: Keystone Tonight! Mack Sennett Comedies
Volume 3: Sennett in the Twenties
Volume 4: Funny Girls
Volume 5: Keaton, Arbuckle and St. John
Volume 6: Hal Roach’s All-Star Comedies
Volume 7: Hal Roach – The Lot of Fun
Volume 8: Chaplin and the Music Hall Tradition
Volume 9: The Race is On
Volume 10: The Anarchic Fringe

slapstick1
Front cover design (Photo by Lindsey for TMP)

Full Film List

One of the only things that bugged me about this set when I bought it was that no list of all of the films in each volume was included. So I decided to put one together as I watched. I’ve been tracking the films on Listography in the order that they appear in the set but I’ve decided to post the list here, too, in alphabetical order, for anyone who may be interested in purchasing the set.

  1. Alkali Ike’s Auto
  2. All Night Long
  3. Barney Oldfield’s Race for a Life
  4. Be My Wife
  5. Big Moments from Little Pictures
  6. Boat, The
  7. Chasing Choo-Choos
  8. Circus Today
  9. Cure for Pokeritis, A
  10. Danger Ahead
  11. Detectress, The
  12. Dogs of War
  13. Dry and Thirsty
  14. Family Life
  15. Fatty and Mabel Adrift
  16. Fluttering Hearts
  17. Fox Trot Finesse
  18. Garage, The
  19. Get Out and Get Under
  20. Grocery Clerk, The
  21. Haunted Spooks
  22. Hearts and Flowers
  23. He’s In Again
  24. His Marriage Wow
  25. Iron Mule, The
  26. It’s a Gift
  27. Know Thy Wife
  28. Laurel and Hardy Laughtoons
  29. Live Wires and Love Sparks
  30. Mabel’s Dramatic Career
  31. Mighty Like a Moose
  32. Movie Star, A
  33. Mr. Flip
  34. Muddy Romance, A
  35. Natural Born Gambler, A
  36. Night in the Show, A
  37. Now You Tell One
  38. Oh, Doctor!
  39. One Too Many
  40. One Wet Night
  41. Only Me
  42. Oranges and Lemons
  43. Out Bound
  44. Pie-Eyed
  45. Rare Chaplin Snippet, A
  46. Rink, The
  47. Rounders, The
  48. Rowdy Ann
  49. Saturday Afternoon
  50. Super-Hooper-Dyne Lizzies
  51. Teddy at the Trottle
  52. Three of a Kind
  53. Wandering Willies
  54. Water Wagons
  55. Wrong Mr. Fox, The
  56. Yukon Jake
Back cover (Photo by Lindsey for TMP)
Back cover design (Photo by Lindsey for TMP)

Favorites (Discoveries & re-discoveries)

Films (in order of appearance)

  • The Wrong Mr. Fox (1917)
  • Be My Wife (1921)
  • A Muddy Romance (1913)
  • His Marriage Wow (1925)
  • Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1916)
  • The Garage (1920)
  • Get Out and Get Under (1920)
  • Haunted Spooks (1920)
  • It’s a Gift (1923)
  • A Rare Chaplin Snippet (1916)
  • Danger Ahead (1926)
  • Yukon Jake (1924)
  • Now You Tell One (1926)

People (alphabetical by first name)

  • Andy Clyde
  • Ben Turpin
  • Charley Chase
  • Dorothy Devore
  • Harry Langdon
  • Mabel Normand
  • Madeline Hurlock
  • Max Linder
  • Peggy Pearce
Chaplin photos and a quote adorn the inside flip of the packaging. (Photo by Lindsey for TMP)
Chaplin photos and a quote adorn the inside flip of the packaging. (Photo by Lindsey for TMP)

Reviewin’ the Box

What’s in the box?: Fifty-six silent shorts of the slapstick comedy genre, plus a booklet called “The Whole Custard Pie Catalog” with information about some of the stars featured in these films. The DVDs total up to about 18 hours of programming.

Packaging: The five discs of this set come in a tri-fold “video-book” package. Beautiful sepia images adorn the front and back covers. When you open the first fold, you see the first two discs in their respective DVD slots on the left, with two photos of Chaplin and a quote from him on the right. Open the Chaplin fold and the final three discs and booklet are revealed. Each disc has a film still printed on it. On the whole, the set is very nicely designed and looks great to display on a shelf. 5/5

DVD quality: Some of these films are over 100 years old, so the print quality can be hit-or-miss. All films are of watchable quality, though, despite their distortion. They’re accompanied by crystal-clear, beautifully composed scores. I won’t fault the set too greatly for the quality of some of the prints, because I’m sure in most cases they were the best prints available, and I’m just glad the films are available for viewing in any case. 3.5/5

Special features: The introductions to each film, though presented in a very simple way (text slides), are informative. Three bonus films which were not included in this set’s earlier printings make great additions. (Two of my favorites from the entire set, His Marriage Wow and Haunted Spooks, are bonus films.) The accompanying booklet is nicely done — lots of pictures and interesting tidbits about the filmmakers. An additional documentary feature might have been nice to see, since the curators of the set clearly have the knowledge to put one together. 4/5

Overall score: 4.2/5 – I’m very glad to own this set and would recommend it to any fan of silent films, or anyone wishing to further explore the world of silent, comedic shorts.

The whole custard pie! (Photo by Lindsey for TMP)
The whole custard pie! (Photo by Lindsey for TMP)
Advertisements

One thought on “Reviewin’ the Box: Slapstick Encyclopedia

Share your thoughts! (Note: Comments close 90 days after publication.)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.