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Case Number 27653: Small Claims Court

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The Max Linder Collection

Max Wants A Divorce
1917 // 27 Minutes // Not Rated
Be My Wife
1921 // 57 Minutes // Not Rated
Seven Years Bad Luck
1921 // 64 Minutes // Not Rated
The Three Must-Get-Theres
1922 // 57 Minutes // Not Rated
Released by Kino Lorber
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // August 21st, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge P.S. Colbert wonders: Is it a silent film because nobody's listening?

The Charge

"I always preferred Linder to Chaplain."—Private Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Brühl)

The Case

Until he was mentioned in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, I'd never heard of writer, director, and silent film comedian Max Linder, despite his being credited as "the very first International movie star," and reputed to have made over five hundred film appearances.

Kino Classics' The Max Linder Collection presents four of them…

The Three Must-Get-Theres
Max plays Dart-in-Again in "A film burlesque of the famous novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

Be My Wife
Max wants only to wed his true love Mary (Alta Allen). Before he can walk her down the aisle, there are three hurdles he must clear: Mary's disapproving auntie (Caroline Rankin), rival beau Archie (Lincoln Steadman), and his dog Pal.

Seven Years Bad Luck
Chicanery amongst the household staff results in a full-length mirror shattering…and then more chicanery ensues.

Max Wants A Divorce
Max and his bride (Martha Mansfield) are happily canoodling after the wedding when a letter comes, informing Max that his Uncle has died and left him a three million dollar inheritance—but only on the condition that he remains a bachelor.

Pardon me just one moment for sounding like some fusty ol' film critic, but…Eureka! I've discovered comedy gold! One moment, Linder's name was just a trivia morsel to me, the next: I'm laughing—out loud—at his silent movies, nearly a century old! Who'da thunk it possible?

If I had to pick, a favorite, I'd go with Seven Years Bad Luck, a comedic marvel of superstition and shadow play; arguably based on the flimsiest of premises. Conversely, set-starter The Three Must Get-Theres, while easily the most ambitious production here, impressed me least. Not that this spoof doesn't have its rib-tickling charms, but a good bit of the humor seemed atypically forced. On the other hand, were I familiar with the 1921 Douglas Fairbanks screen vehicle being lampooned, I might be rolling in the aisles.

Boyishly handsome, sporting a silk top hat, evening clothes, and a rake's moustache, Linder's screen persona was that of an impish urbanite; a love-able, self-deprecating cad, whose cleverness usually led to his undoing-best represented in Be My Wife, whereupon he gets into a knock-down, drag-out brawl…with himself.

Kino Classics has done a remarkable job of restoration here. Of course, some dirt and debris shows up, but despite their age, these pioneering silver screen gems still sparkle. Each film has been outfitted with a fine musical accompaniment that not only perfectly underscores the visuals, but comes through loud and clear, courtesy of a nice Dolby Digital stereo mix. The set features no extras, but then again, the set doesn't need them.

Misunderstandings, mistaken impressions, peopling falling into dead faints (brought on by extreme confusion), pretty maids, fussy old dowagers, and romantic rivals abound throughout this quartet of features (okay, technically, Max Wants a Divorce counts as a short feature) the dapper Frenchman made in America near the end of his life-The chronically-depressed Linder would die tragically at age forty one, on Oct. 31, 1925, when he and his wife made good on a (second) suicide pact.

But on a lighter note (one that a show-biz pro like Linder would surely appreciate), I'm happy to report that Mighty Max still leaves 'em laughing.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Genres

• Action
• Adventure
• Classic
• Comedy
• Short Films
• Silent Films

Scales of Justice, Max Wants A Divorce

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile, Max Wants A Divorce

Studio: Kino Lorber
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 27 Minutes
Release Year: 1917
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Max Wants A Divorce

• None

Scales of Justice, Be My Wife

Judgment: 88

Perp Profile, Be My Wife

Studio: Kino Lorber
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 57 Minutes
Release Year: 1921
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Be My Wife

• None

Scales of Justice, Seven Years Bad Luck

Judgment: 90

Perp Profile, Seven Years Bad Luck

Studio: Kino Lorber
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 64 Minutes
Release Year: 1921
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Seven Years Bad Luck

• None

Scales of Justice, The Three Must-Get-Theres

Judgment: 82

Perp Profile, The Three Must-Get-Theres

Studio: Kino Lorber
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 57 Minutes
Release Year: 1922
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Three Must-Get-Theres

• None








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