Thursday, June 24, 2010

Seven Chances (1925)

By Eric Jessen June 24, 2010

In this wonderful Buster Keaton comedy the set-up is perfect. Jimmy Shannon (Keaton) is down on his luck – some trouble with his girlfriend and desperately in need of money. He has just found out he's set to inherit seven million dollars from his grandfather as long as he gets married by 7:00 PM on his 27th birthday. Well it just so happens that his 27th birthday … is today!
Of course his girlfriend – a sentimentalist – doesn't so much care for the idea of getting married just so he can inherit seven million dollars. Now Shannon's really up against it. A series of embarrassing proposals, including one to a mannequin, prove futile. So his friend gives him a hand by placing an ad in the newspaper looking for all women interested in a husband and seven million dollars. No need to go into detail – one thing leads to another, a little misunderstanding – but before he knows it Shannon is being chased by thousands of disgruntled brides in gowns that look more like togas stolen from the set Cecil B. DeMille's Ben-Hur (made the same year). It's a classic sequence in Keaton films. (And it's another chance for him to show off his athleticism.)
Seven Chances is hilarious, great fun. It was a fresh take on marriage in 1925 and hasn't dated a bit. In the end Shannon gets hitched just as time expires. And to his girlfriend – the sentimentalist. (So love sort of prevails.) How could she resist – Shannon, I mean.

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