Marie Mosquini

Haunted Spooks (1920, Hal Roach and Alfred J. Goulding)

Haunted Spooks is a disjointed experience. It starts well enough, with unmarried Mildred Davis inheriting a mansion… so long as she’s married. Her lawyer promises to get her a husband, which the title cards have already revealed will be Harold Lloyd.

Then Haunted takes its time bringing the two together. Instead, Lloyd’s current love interest picks another man–after a lengthy sequence where he’s trying to beat still another suitor to ask her father’s blessing–and Lloyd decides to kill himself. Then there are multiple suicide attempts; they’re often funny, but Haunted‘s not exactly an upper.

Finally Davis and Lloyd get together and head to the mansion. Except her evil uncle has convinced the servants the mansion is haunted. They panic. Their panic panics Davis and Lloyd.

The haunting stuff flops and the opening’s only marginally better.

Lloyd’s excellent, but Haunted‘s most compelling feature is the beautifully illustrated title cards.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Hal Roach and Alfred J. Goulding; titles by H.M. Walker; director of photography, Walter Lundin; produced by Roach; released by Pathé Exchange.

Starring Harold Lloyd (The Boy), Mildred Davis (The Girl), Wallace Howe (The Uncle), William Gillespie (The Lawyer), Marie Mosquini (The Other Girl) and Blue Washington (The Butler).


It’s a Gift (1923, Hugh Fay)

It’s a Gift has such a great plot, it’s impossible it’s going to succeed. There’s a gasoline crisis so the losing oil companies decide to get rid of petroleum all together and instead use a synthetic.

The oil barons approach ‘Snub’ Pollard, an inventor.

The inventions are Gift‘s primary appeal. There are all sorts of contraptions to make regular life (waking, breakfast, dressing) easier. But the space is also conserved by items suiting dual purpose. Part of the pleasure is discovering those purposes.

Because, otherwise, Gift has little to recommend it. Director Fay handles the eventual manic action quite well, but leading man Pollard is lifeless. He’s not convincing as an absent-minded professor.

The script’s lazy and contrived, though there is one scene where Pollard almost gets someone drowned before running off. It’s easily the most exciting scene.

Gift is short, which helps a little. But not much.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Hugh Fay; produced by Hal Roach; released by Pathé Exchange.

Starring ‘Snub’ Pollard (Inventor Pollard), Marie Mosquini (The Girl), William Gillespie (Weller Pump, oil executive), Wallace Howe (Customer) and Mark Jones (Swindler).


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