Cinema Review – Slapstick 2009: Tramp, Tramp, Tramp

Friday 23rd January 2009 @ Watershed

Tramp, Tramp, Tramp is the second film to be screened as part of the second night of the festivities at Slapstick 2009. Now in its 5th year, Slapstick is Bristol’s festival of silent comedy, featuring films from all the slapstick greats like Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy. Tonight’s film stars one of the lesser known talents of silent cinema, Harry Langdon, and it appears Watershed were surprised by its popularity, having to upgrade the size of the screening due to ticket demand!

The pull of Slapstick then, a fantastic festival which gets bigger and better every year, is now enough to attract people to see any of their recommended screenings. Films are going to be especially popular though when the showing is accompanied throughout by a live piano and has a very special introduction by none other than animation legend Richard Williams – he of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? fame.

Williams quipped with the audience for five or six minutes, laying the background story and creative context of the encroaching Tramp, Tramp, Tramp; fascinatingly, the film sees its star, Harry Langdon, at the peak of his powers. The movie was a smash hit when it was released in 1926 but with its and his success, Langdon started to believe his on hype and quickly descended into a fast, showpiece lifestyle of girls, drink and drugs and quickly burnt out. Williams expertly introduced us to the character and acting style of Langdon which made the viewing all the more enjoyable.

The film itself was a real treat, full of all the sort of fantastic stunts you’d hope from silent comedy and Langdon still managed to reduce an audience to tears of laughter over 80 years on!

Matt Whittle

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