Harry Howells ( Harry Langdon), just out of college, is madly in love with the charming Ethel Morgan ( Natalie Kingston), who in turn is in love with his money. Fire chief Amos McCarthy ( Vernon Dent), Harry’s uncle and a confirmed misogynist, advises Harry to avoid marriage at all costs. Determined to marry Ethel, Harry ignores his uncle’s advice and sets out to win his lady love’s hand. On the way, Harry bumbles through a series of comical mishaps – absent mindedly throwing away a precious gift, losing his engagement ring and getting mugged by a couple of shoplifters. Harry finally makes it to the Morgan residence only to find that it’s on fire and that the faithless Ethel has fallen for his uncle McCarthy. Dis-illusioned, Harry spends a fitful night at the fire station, until the clamor of the fire alarm sends him on another bumbling adventure – one that will end with Ethel’s sister Mary ( Ruth Hiatt) in his arms.
Like many other youngsters who believed strongly in their own abilities, 12-year-old Harry Langdon left the comforts of his home in search of a career in acting. His meeting with screenwriter Frank Capra very early on proved to be a blessing for both men. Capra and Langdon teamed up to create a unique screen character - a grown up who was yet to shed his childlike innocence, and who more often than not, walked into potentially hazardous, yet comical situations. Sadly, Langdon could not handle the success and accolades that followed. Breaking up this highly successful partnership, Langdon decided to strike out on his own – a decision that was to spell doom for his Hollywood career. His First Flame is Langdon’s first feature length comedy. This classic Hollywood vintage film from the silent era, made at the peak of Langdon’s successful association with Capra, has been preserved on DVD by a2zzcds.com.
Running Time: 52 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: NR
A few actors from the silent movies era were so gifted, that the absence of sound tracks seldom bothered them. These exceptional artistsmade up for deficits with incredibly lucid performances. One name that stands out in this context is that of the inimitable Charlie Chaplin –the indisputable king of silent comedies. Close on his heels were the likes of Harry Langdon, who idolized Chaplin.
Shades of Chaplin are pretty evident in this hilarious, slapstick silent comedy starring Harry Langdon. Unlike most Chaplinian characters though, Harry, around whom the narrative revolves in this Hollywood classic isrich and educated. What puts him in the same league as the enchanting tramp are his bumbling ways and propensity for finding trouble. Madlyin love, Harry is all set to marry his first flame Ethel. He goofs his way through a series of near-fatal mishaps only to find Ethel in his woman-hater uncle McCarthy’s arms. Ethel’s sister Mary, who is madly in love with Harry cashes in on the opportunity and finds an ingenious way of grabbing him – quite literally.
If you are looking for a guaranteed way of spending a hilarious evening with the family, grab this movie DVD right away. It has rib-tickling humor and some unforgettable performances. These however, are mere vehicles used by director Edwards, to convey a much deeper insight into human nature. It is also a great example of how gifted actors were seldom deterred by technical limitations in the early movies. Don’t miss this vintage Hollywood Gem from the 1920s, which will have you holding your sides with uncontrolled laughter till the end.
"Harry Langdon’s actions resemble those of Stan Laurel of the Laurel and Hardy fame so closely, that I half expected Hardy to appear on the screen on many occasions. That Langdon was a genius in his own rightsis pretty evident in this vintage Hollywood classic. This movie also proves the point that success is all about teamwork. As long as Langdon worked with screenwriter Frank Capra, he was a much sought-after actor. Sadly, pride got the better of him and brought a premature end to his acting days. I am certain Langdon’s fans were deprived of a lot because of this split. Anyway, I must thank a2zcds.com for preserving this classic for die-hard Landon fans like me. Thanks guys, keep them coming."
Laura Spencer (Los Angeles, California)
"In a way, it was unfortunate that Harry Langdon was a contemporary of Charlie Chaplin. Poor guy. Despite his immense talent, he had to live in the shadows of his more accomplished hero. Yes, Langdon was an admirer of Chaplin, and shades of the genius’ style are evident in Harry’s portrayal of a bumbling and jilted lover. I am a die-hard fan of early silent comedies and this one was a treat. Thanks a2zcds.com. I love the way you guys preserve classic movies on DVDs for vintage movie buffs like me."
Bruce Chapel (Portland, Oregon)
CAST & CREW:
Arthur Ripley - Writing Credits
Ernie Crockett - Cinematography
William Williams - Cinematography
William Hornbeck - Editor
Bud Jamison - Hector Benedict
Dot Farley - Mrs. Benedict
William McCall -
Margaret Cloud -
Evelyn Francisco -
Christian J. Frank -
Thelma Hill -
Thelma Parr -
Elsie Tarron -
Al Giebler - titles (as A.H. Giebler)
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