Thursday, November 27, 2014

There It Is

There It Is; silent comedy short, USA, 1928; D: Harold L. Muller, Chrales Bowers, S: Charles Bowers, Kathryn McGuire, Melbourne MacDowell

When a chicken emerges from a scrambled egg and some unworn pants start dancing by themselves, four people of a mansion suspect the place is haunted. They call the Scotland Yard, who sends them detective Charley from Scotland to investigate the case. He finds a mysterious man with a beard quickly moving across the house, and the butler suspects it might be the ghost. However, it turns out the man with a beard is just a grandfather whom a family forgot to pick up, and that the people inside the mansion are actually patients in a mental asylum.

A haunted house story was always a very thankful concept for a film, and neglected comedian Charles Bowers made a good film out of it in "There It Is", but not a great one as did Linder in "Help!" four years prior. Interestingly, both films also have a similar twist ending, but even the one in "Help!" seems much more consistent and logical. Abandoning his trademark of inventions here, Bowers does a good job as a man who investigates the case of a haunted house, yet the storyline is never as fun as it could have been and loses steam in the middle. The highlights are definitely once again Bowers' other trademark, the bizarre stop-motion animation sequences: in one great scene, the bed starts "shaking" all by itself while Bowers is trying to sleep, whereas a painting of a ship on the sea "comes to life" and even splashes water from the wall on the protagonist. Another great moment comes when Bowers wants to make a phone call, but flies several feet up in the air because the handset starts floating. Overall, an untypical, but well done silent short.


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