Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Home Movies

Some years back, I briefly mentioned the Robert Benchley short Home Movies. I found that it's an extra on the DVD of My Favorite Wife that's in the four-film Cary Grant box set that TCM (well, technically Warner Home Video) put out, so I can do a full-length post on it. Or as full as one can do for a seven-minute short.

Benchley tells us that he's going to tell us how to make good home movies, if only he can find that camera under all the film stock. Cut to a scene of Benchley hosting a bunch of neighbors and showing his vacation movie. I recall my Dad doing this for people of the pictures he took of his trip to Germany nearly 30 years ago, only my dad didn't have a movie camera; he took slides instead. Does anybody make slides any longer? Nowadays you'd just have the photos on a computer and hook that up to a large screen or a projector. In fact, Dad still has the slides and was in the process of converting them to digital before Mom died. That, and the old computer went belly-up after a lightning strike and I don't know if the software is Windows 10-compatible.

Anyhow, in the Benchley short, we see that all of his "friends" come up with excuses to get home early; apparently the being bored of other people's photos when you visit their home has long been a thing. This is why you'd go to the movies to see a Traveltalks short instead. And all of Benchley's movies are terrible. Benchley tries to make all of this funny, but he doesn't really succeed. The one funny bit comes at the end, but that one would no longer work either now that we have safety film.

I can recommend the feature films in the box set (Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, Night and Day, and the aforementioned My Favorite Wife), but as for the short it's one of the worst Benchley shorts I've seen.

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