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Villain Still Pursued Her
     

The Villain Still Pursued Her

Director: Edward F. Cline, Anita Louise, Alan Mowbray, Buster Keaton

Cast: Edward F. Cline, Anita Louise, Alan Mowbray, Buster Keaton

 

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Like Prohibition, Franklin-Blank Productions' The Villain Still Pursued Her is best regarded as a "noble experiment." Using the hoary old stage melodrama The Drunkard: or, the Fallen Saved as its inspiration, the film is a contemptous send-up of all such Victorian mellers, its "serious" moments deliberately and broadly played for laughs. The tone is set

Overview

Like Prohibition, Franklin-Blank Productions' The Villain Still Pursued Her is best regarded as a "noble experiment." Using the hoary old stage melodrama The Drunkard: or, the Fallen Saved as its inspiration, the film is a contemptous send-up of all such Victorian mellers, its "serious" moments deliberately and broadly played for laughs. The tone is set at the beginning of the film, with master of ceremonies Billy Gilbert exhorting the audience to "applaud the noble characters and hiss the villain" (at some showings, it was the other way around). Richard Cromwell plays Edward, a stalwart young man who succumbs to the temptations of Demon Rum through the evil machinations of top-hatted villain Squire Cribbs (Alan Mowbray). It is Cribbs' desire to have heroine Mary (Anita Louise), Edward's long-suffering spouse, in his clutches, but the villain is (curses!) foiled by "philanthropist-reformer" Healy (Hugh Herbert). No opportunity to wring laughs from the audience is overlooked; there's even a pie-throwing sequence, which figured not at all into the original play. The result is more silly than funny, with everyone trying way too hard. Still, there are some prize moments, many of them provided by Buster Keaton in the sizeable role of the hero's best friend; whenever Keaton pauses to deliver an aside to the audience, he must first wait patiently while several disinterested passers-by parade before the camera. Best bit: the "love at first sight" meeting between hero Cromwell and heroine Louise, beginning with intercut long shots of the couple and ending with tight, bloodshot closeups of the actors' eyes! A flop when first released, The Villain Still Pursued Her has since found its audience on the public domain video circuit.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
It's all too easy to make fun of creaky old melodramas, and The Villain Still Pursued Her does not accomplish this feat with much originality or style. Contemporary audiences may want to think of this as a precursor to the Mel Brooks school of moviemaking, in which the film is intended to be nothing but a silly riot of gags, but unlike the better films of Brooks, Villain is far often simply silly. It's all intended to be good clean fun, but the fun wears thin very quickly; this was a one-reel gag idea stretched to feature lengthy and the padding shows. Director Edward F. Cline has a certain amount of flair, but it's not strong enough to make the material work; more importantly, it's not VARIED enough to make the material work. He falls into a rut that makes the film, repetitious in nature, drag far too much. The cast is certainly game, but it's disheartening to see the brilliant Buster Keaton reduced again to a part that is far beneath his talents; he does a fine job, but one longs for him to be able to break loose and show what he's really capable of. Still, there are some fun moments amidst the silliness and those who don't mind a belabored premise may find it amusing enough.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/21/2004
UPC:
0089218461094
Original Release:
1941
Rating:
NR
Source:
Alpha Video
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:06:00
Sales rank:
16,098

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Anita Louise Mary Wilson
Alan Mowbray Cribbs the Villain
Buster Keaton William Dalton
Joyce Compton Hazel Dalton
Richard Cromwell Edward Middleton
Billy Gilbert Announcer
Margaret Hamilton Widow Wilson
William Farnum Vagabond
Franklin Pangborn Bartender
Diane Fisher Julia
Hugh Herbert Frederick Healy

Technical Credits
Edward F. Cline Director
Lucien Ballard Cinematographer
Elbert Franklin Screenwriter
Harold B. Franklin Producer
Arthur D. Hilton Editor
Lewis Rachmil Art Director
Frank Tours Score Composer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
2. Chapter 1 [9:54]
3. Chapter 2 [10:13]
4. Chapter 3 [11:52]
5. Chapter 4 [11:16]
6. Chapter 5 [9:57]
7. Chapter 6 [11:41]

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