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The Joys and Perils of Modern Life Through the Eyes of a Legendary American Humorist
In this special collection of rare short films, Kino on Video pays homage to the great American satirist Robert Benchley and two other witty literati who shared his company at the Hotel Algonquin's legendary round table and personified the sophisticated literary scene of New York in the 1920s and '30s.
From his first screen appearance in 1928, delivering his now-famous The Treasurer's Report (which he first performed live in 1922), Benchley established himself as a sly satirist, even as he stammered and stumbled through his nonsensical monologue. Benchley's amusingly inept lectures were soon mimicked by Donald Ogden Stewart, who would earn an Oscar for his screenplay of The Philadelphia Story, and later be blacklisted for his Communist associations. Curiously, the Communist witch-hunts are the focus of the rarest and perhaps funniest short in the anthology: The Witness, in which Benchley turns the tables on the governmental inquisitors with hilarious results.
Benchley's wry filmic explorations of the headaches of everyday married life exhibit the literary acumen and clever insight that made him one of the best-loved humorists of the 20th Century.
Mr. W's Little Game stars New Yorker columnist Alexander Woollcott (self-proclaimed leader of the Algonquin Round Table) as a fussy nightclub patron who befuddles a young woman and a stuffy waiter (Leo G. Carroll) with a simple word game.
Produced for video/DVD by Bret Wood | Licensed from the Douris Corp.
"No writer made me laugh as hard as Robert Benchley. A-" - Entertainment Weekly
"OUR PICK: Modern-day mythmaking about the Algonquin Round Table tends to depict the twenties literary wits—including Harold Ross and Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber—as a debauched and vicious circle. But watch The Paramount Comedy Shorts 1928Ã�ï¿½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã�Â¯Ã�Â¿Ã�Â½Ã�ï¿½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã�ï¿½Ã�Â¯Ã�ï¿½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã�Â¯Ã�Â¿Ã�Â½Ã�ï¿½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã�ï¿½Ã�Â¿Ã�ï¿½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã�Â¯Ã�Â¿Ã�Â½Ã�ï¿½Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã�ï¿½Ã�Â½1941: Robert Benchley and the Knights of the Algonquin and you get an altogether sillier vision that’s so sweet it makes you wonder if all the contemporary scandalmongering says more about us than them." - New York Magazine
Five Benchley shorts not previously offered on earlier VHS release: