Help identifying faux Keystone Cops film?

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Chris Seguin
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Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:29 pm

Help identifying faux Keystone Cops film?

Postby Chris Seguin » Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:25 am

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Need a little help from the Mafia hivemind... I'm trying to identify a film featuring a group of faux Keystone Cops; the presence of George Rowe indicates a Hal Roach production of the early/mid-30s; the inestimable Richard M. Roberts suggests it's a Paul Parrott film.

I found the clip in a 1953 UK compilation film called THE SLAPPIEST DAYS OF OUR LIVES, a hodgepodge of Roach and Sennett films narrated by Peter Sellers (doing his best to channel Stan Laurel).

Thanks in advance!
Chris

Steve Massa
Capo
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Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:55 pm

Re: Help identifying faux Keystone Cops film?

Postby Steve Massa » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:43 pm

In the last frame grab the cop that's in front of George Rowe, and appears to be driving, looks like Dave "Andy" Anderson.

Ed Watz
Associate
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Re: Help identifying faux Keystone Cops film?

Postby Ed Watz » Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:00 am

An Italian dubbed version LA BOMBA COMICA is on Youtube. The George Rowe "Cop" footage begins around the 3-minute mark:

https://youtu.be/fRQTFXGwcns

This mishmash of slapstick fragments was first released in France as CA C'EST DU CINEMA (1950). Three years later came the British version SLAPPIEST DAYS OF OUR LIVES with Peter Sellers doing voice-overs as well as his Stan Laurel imitation. This edition contains additional material from Laurel & Hardy talkies, also dubbed by Sellers.

LA BOMBA COMICA followed in 1958 and is identical to CA C'EST DU CINEMA. There's numerous clips from Sennett, Roach and other studios' silent comedies, also bits of Sennett and Educational talkies, presented here as silents. The talkie shorts were still in copyright, as well as a chunk of Lloyd's A SAILOR MADE MAN but none of the European distributors seemed bothered by ownership rights (hey, they were old comedy shorts, who cared about such trivial matters back in the Fifties?).

The "plot" involves Stan Laurel as an investigative reporter who travels to the USA and ends up in Hollywood. Many of the shorts will be familiar to SiCom Mafia members, but as Chris shared with us, there's also an intriguing handful of head-scratching "What the heck is that from?" sequences. Happy hunting (if you dare - Robert Youngson would've been appalled with the clips' presentation)!
"Of course he smiled -- just like you and me." -- Harold Goodwin, on Buster Keaton (1976)

Chris Seguin
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:29 pm

Re: Help identifying faux Keystone Cops film?

Postby Chris Seguin » Sat Jan 04, 2020 9:52 am

Thanks Ed!

The film is the very definition of baffling. I’ve never seen the original French version, but whoever did it went to a lot of effort to doctor the footage (voila!):
https://youtu.be/bXb_sQz63tk

And very interesting to see clips from HYPNOTIZED, PALOOKA FROM PADUCAH and GOING BYE BYE jammed in there!

Chris

Ed Watz
Associate
Posts: 292
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Re: Help identifying faux Keystone Cops film?

Postby Ed Watz » Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:54 am

Glad to oblige, Chris! Years ago before I'd seen the film I nearly bought a 16mm print of the original (French) version - but I'm pleased to say I had my doubts beforehand!

Curiously, the GOING BYE-BYE! footage only appears in the British version. It's been a long time since I've seen the UK cut, I don't recall whether they kept THE GOLD GHOST and THE CANNONBALL footage or if that was jettisoned in favor of that smidgen of Stan and Ollie.

And you're so right, between the added optical effects (Stan in the space rocket, Stan and a skunk in a taxi on Fifth Avenue) and some deft editing, a lot of effort was put into making this melange. Someone with a better imagination than Jules White intercut Harold Lloyd from AMONG THOSE PRESENT with Stan and Priscilla Dean from SLIPPING WIVES to give a flashback framing to A SAILOR MADE MAN!
"Of course he smiled -- just like you and me." -- Harold Goodwin, on Buster Keaton (1976)

Chris Seguin
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:29 pm

Re: Help identifying faux Keystone Cops film?

Postby Chris Seguin » Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:47 am

Ed — interesting! I would’ve bought it if I was you, these variations are always fascinating. So thanks for posting the Italian version!
I’m pretty sure the UK version retains the footage from THE GOLD GHOST and THE CANNONBALL, but can’t say with absolute certainty. I’ll need to give it another scan. Agreed that the intercutting of Lloyd and Laurel was pretty impressive, and now I’m disappointed that Jules White didn’t somehow optically insert Shemp’s face onto Joe Palma’s body. It somehow seems not beneath him!


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