I was expecting much more out of this movie, specifically because it marks the first prominent appearance by the Keystone Cops. Evidently, back in the early-1900’s, the made an excellent first impression on audiences, as they would go on to become a popular and often-imitated source of comedy.
The Bangville Police begins with a girl (Mabel Normand) who looks like a silent movie version of Curly Sue, spotting two strange men on the family farm. Being that they have gnarly handle-bar mustaches and ten-gallon cowboy hats, she quickly decides they must be bad guys. So she phones the local police (the Keystone Cops) and they stumble and fumble their way cross-country to get to the farm in time to save her. There is also a segment where the girl locks herself in a room (and later a closet) and doesn’t let her parents in, fearing they are the burglars. All they had to do was say, “Curly Sue, this is your Mom and Dad. Open this door right this minute!” instead of enduring two minutes of melodramatic acting that concludes with the girl saying, “Oh, it’s you guys.” (At least that’s what it looks like she says.)
The conclusion is really lame. The Keystone Cops never get the bad guys. In fact, after their inital appearance in the beginning, the bad guys are never seen again. For all we know, they’re hiding in the rafters of the barn waiting to repel down a la The Punisher and wipe everybody out.
This movie lack in story and execution, although the music is quite catchy. The opening score made me want to go to a baseball game or ride a merry-go-round. Hopefully, tomorrow’s Charlie Chaplin movie Tillie’s Punctured Romance will showcase better comedy. Although I hear the Keystone Cops appear in that movie too. *sigh*