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'Running Wild' Matches:

Running Wild

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It's the Old Army Game (1926)

I'm not sure how many people know it today, but W.C. Fields is inarguably one of the greatest screen comedians of all time. Very little has been written about Fields's silent-era films, except to say that his silent work generally is not as good or as funny as his sound-era work, notably his two masterpieces It's a Gift (1934) and The Bank Dick (1940). I had seen him in D.W. Griffith's Sally of the Sawdust (1925), and in a very early short film — his first screen credit — called Pool Sharks (1919). (It was released on an excellent Criterion DVD, collecting six Fields shorts.) I liked him fine in both, but would not really argue that I liked them better than the sound-era films. read more...
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It's the Old Army Game (1926)

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  • With: W.C. Fields, Louise Brooks, Blanche Ring, William Gaxton, Mary Foy, Mickey Bennett, Josephine Dunn, Jack Luden, George Currie, Elise Cavanna
  • Written by: William LeBaron, Thomas J. Geraghty, J. Clarkson Miller, Ralph Spence, based on a play by W.C. Fields, J.P. McEvoy
  • Directed by: A. Edward Sutherland
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 75 minutes
  • Release Date: 07/10/1926
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Speedy (1928)

The summery Speedy (1928) was Harold Lloyd's final silent film, though it's perhaps more notable for an onscreen appearance of baseball legend Babe Ruth. Lloyd plays the title character, a baseball-obsessed ne'er-do-well who can't seem to hang onto a job -- as the movie begins, he's a soda jerk -- though his girl, Jane (Ann Christy) loves him anyway. ("Speedy" was his nickname in real life as well.) The plot has him trying to save Jane's grandfather's horse-drawn trolley car, though there are long, carefree segments not connected to anything, such as a crazy day at Coney Island; the movie has a terrific, on-location feel for New York City. Director Ted Wilde received an Oscar nomination for Best Comedy Director, a category that, sadly, didn't last long. (Lloyd was always in charge of his movies, but never took a directing credit for himself.) read more...
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Speedy (1928)

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  • With: Harold Lloyd, Ann Christy, Bert Woodruff, Brooks Benedict, Babe Ruth
  • Written by: John Grey, Lex Neal, Howard Rogers
  • Directed by: Ted Wilde
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 86 minutes
  • Release Date: 04/06/1928
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Three Ages (1923)

Buster Keaton's feature debut Three Ages (1923) was filmed in three segments just in case it flopped, it could be cut into three short films and re-released. Ostensibly a spoof of Griffith's Intolerance, Keaton's film looks at love triangles throughout the ages, specifically the Caveman era, ancient Rome, and the modern era. It's not one of his most inspired efforts overall, but it contains many memorable moments, such as Buster's entrance on a dinosaur, or the gorgeous moment in which he tumbles over a cliff and gives the camera a kiss as he goes. read more...
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Three Ages (1923)

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  • With: Buster Keaton, Margaret Leahy, Wallace Beery, Joe Roberts, Lillian Lawrence, Kewpie Morgan
  • Written by: Clyde Bruckman, Joseph A. Mitchell, Jean C. Havez
  • Directed by: Eddie Cline, Buster Keaton
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 63 minutes
  • Release Date: 09/23/1923
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Battling Butler (1926)

Most fans and critics agree that boxing picture Battling Butler (1926) is probably Buster Keaton's least successful picture, though it was a money-maker in its day. Based on a play, the material was a bit too literal and plot-driven to have inspired Keaton's creative juices. He plays Alfred Butler, a rich layabout whose manservant provides even the simplest tasks. ("Arrange it," Butler continually orders.) read more...
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Battling Butler (1926)

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  • With: Buster Keaton, Sally O'Neil, Walter James, Budd Fine, Francis McDonald, Mary O'Brien, Tom Wilson, Eddie Borden, Snitz Edwards
  • Written by: Paul Girard Smith, Al Boasberg, Charles Henry Smith, Lex Neal
  • Directed by: Buster Keaton
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 77 minutes
  • Release Date: 08/21/1926
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Christmas in July (1940)

Preston Sturges's second film as director, Christmas in July was released the same year as his first, The Great McGinty, though it came out neither in July, nor at Christmastime. (It opened in October.) It's a small gem, almost too short to mention (67 minutes), but glitteringly perfect nonetheless. Dick Powell plays the chipper Jimmy MacDonald, who enters lots of contests. His latest one is for a coffee company, despite the fact that he works for a rival coffee company. He thinks his slogan — "If you can't sleep at night, it's not the coffee, it's the bunk" — is genius and worthy of winning the huge cash prize. Some co-workers overhear Jimmy talking about it, and send him a fake telegram declaring him the winner. Jimmy and his girlfriend Betty (Ellen Drew) immediately embark upon a spending spree, beginning with buying Jimmy's mother a fold-out couch she wants, and continuing with buying gifts for everyone they can think of. It turns into a melee, and the police are called. Meanwhile, the actual contest is on hold because of a hung jury. The cranky Mr. Bildocker (William Demarest) refuses to sign off on the bland slogan the other 11 jurors have chosen. The punchline is self-explanatory, but Sturges delivers it as only a master comic could. It's all based on a play he wrote in 1931. read more...
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Christmas in July (1940)

100.0% Match

  • With: Dick Powell, Ellen Drew, Raymond Walburn, Alexander Carr, William Demarest, Ernest Truex, Franklin Pangborn, Harry Hayden, Rod Cameron, Adrian Morris, Harry Rosenthal, Georgia Caine, June Preston, Ferike Boros, Torben Meyer, Julius Tannen, Al Bridge, Lucille Ward, Kay Stewart, Victor Potel
  • Written by: Preston Sturges
  • Directed by: Preston Sturges
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 67 minutes
  • Release Date: 10/17/1940
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