aura La Plante is not a name you hear much of today, but in the 1920s she was Universal's leading female star. An accomplished actress with a gift for light comedy, she starred in a number of films, the most famous being the comedy/horror The Cat and the Canary (1927).
On Tuesday the National Film Theatre showed a lesser-known comedy, Home James (1928). It's a pleasant comedy with a familiar plot - she mistakes the son of her rich boss for his chauffeur, they fall in love, and the sort of complications you might expect ensue. In the meantime she has to convince visiting snooty relatives that she's successful: he lets her pretend his father's house is hers and invite them there (so that they think it's her house, and she thinks her boyfriend is only the chauffeur there, and the servants have to negotiate this situation - and pretend to be posh guests).
The comparison with Marion Davies in The Patsy (reviewed 17th July ) is interesting: Davies is a genuinely funny comedienne: La Plante is a good actress capable of handling comedy but not really funny in herself. The comedy lies in the plot of the film, and probably any good and suitable actress could have performed it. The film itself is well scripted and made, though the boyfriend (Charles Delaney) looks too old and lacks charm: and unfortunately the intertitle writer has felt it necessary to add a number of gags to the titles, which seem out of place. There are some good scenes in the department store where she works (including a late-and-avoiding-the-shopwalker routine lifted straight from Safety Last).
Not a top silent comedy then, but enjoyable, and a reminder that silent comedy wasn't all pratfalls and knockabout.
Links: IMDB : Biography
Posted: Thu - August 17, 2006 at 09:06 AM by Roger Wilmut
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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM