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His First Flame

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His First Flame
Film poster
Directed byHarry Edwards
Produced byMack Sennett
Written byFrank Capra
Arthur Ripley
StarringHarry Langdon
Natalie Kingston
CinematographyErnie Crockett
William Williams
Edited byWilliam Hornbeck
Distributed byPathé Exchange
Release date
  • May 3, 1927 (1927-05-03)
Running time
48 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguagesSilent film
English intertitles

His First Flame is a 1927 American silent comedy film starring Harry Langdon and directed by Harry Edwards. Additional cast members include Natalie Kingston, Ruth Hiatt, Vernon Dent, and others.

Plot

The story tells of Harry Howells (Langdon), a recent college graduate who's madly in love with his sweetheart Ethel (Kingston) and hopes to marry her. His woman hating uncle, however, Fire chief Amos McCarthy (Dent), tells his nephew to avoid marriage because all women want is money.

Even though Harry is determined to marry Ethel, it seems his uncle was right: Ethel is a gold-digger. Harry is crestfallen. Her sister, Mary Morgan (Hiatt), however, is very interested in Harry. Still, unhappy, Harry spends the night in the firehouse. That night the fire alarm goes off, and it gives hapless Harry a chance to prove his mettle.

Cast

Critical reception

When the film was released, the film critic for The New York Times, Mordaunt Hall, liked the film and wrote, "Mr. Sennett and Mr. Langdon do their parts in this nice mile of fun. Mr. Sennett, who failed as a blacksmith and amassed millions as a maker of film humor, deserves no little credit for the hilarious situations in this picture. And Mr. Langdon is to be congratulated on a generous supply of sad smiles and wide-eyed effects...Mr. Langdon is at his best in this humorous piece of work. The heroine is impersonated by Natalie Kingston, who, while she does not appreciate Harry's wisdom, is attractive."[1]

In a review of Langdon's collective work, critic Michael Barrett discussed the film and wrote, "His First Flame was Langdon’s first feature, made for Sennett but not released until 1927 to cash in on his First National hits.[2] Its central feature is a romantic triangle between rich idiot Langdon, his gold-digging fiancee Kingston, and his woman-hating uncle Dent. In a segment of very dark humor on the joys of domestic violence, Harry witnesses two simultaneous donnybrooks in neighboring houses, one in the foreground and the other in deep focus in the background. This is one of the set’s clearest examples of Langdon’s tendency to exploit humiliation and unease, an area of comedy that crosses into an audience’s discomfort zone. Among these early works, this daring sequence is perhaps the clearest application of Agee's warning (or celebration) about Langdon’s strange territory, though Agee was probably thinking most of the homicidal feature Long Pants."[3]

References

  1. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. The New York Times, film review, May 2, 1927. Last accessed: February 19, 2008.
  2. ^ Neibaur, James L., The Silent Films of Harry Langdon (1923-1928) (Masryland: Scarecrow Press, Inc.) 2012
  3. ^ Barrett, Michael. Pop Matters, film reviews, 1999-2008. Last accessed: February 19, 2008.
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His First Flame
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