Twelve Shorts for the Shortest Month #2: Lure (2010)

US / 23 minutes / color / Aegis, Brothers Young Dir & Scr: Byron Conrad Erwin Cine: Tom Pritchard Cast: Jared Young, Josh Ford, Travis Young, Peter Kown, Brent Brooks, Brenda Norbeck, Jason Grant Davis, Carlette Jennings, Maura Perrin, Karli G. Brooks, Julia Butler, Mary Jac Beavers, Bob Young, Diana Young, Matthew Young, Ian George

A young man, Paul (Jared Young) is chronically depressed because, he thinks, of accumulated guilt over the fact that, every time he sees an attractive young woman, he harbors lustfully explicit thoughts about her. While this latter might seem a pretty normal state of affairs for most young (and, hm, even not so young) men, for Paul it’s an offense against his deeply held Christian principles.

Although shrink Eric Neil (Ford), equally Christian, pushes him away from such ideas, Paul fantasizes about suicide, which he sees as the only way out of his dilemma. However, Continue reading

Flirting with Fate (1916)

US / 57 minutes / bw silent / Triangle Dir: W. Christy Cabanne Story: Robert M. Baker Cine: William E. Fildew Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Jewel Carmen, Howard Gaye, W.E. Laurence (i.e., W.E. Lawrence), George Beranger, Dorothy Haydel, Lillian Langdon, Wilbur Higby, J.P. McCarty.

While writing the Encyclopedia, I assumed that the first movie to deploy the “depressed man commissions a hitman to kill him, then things start going right and he changes his mind, but how can he stop the hitman?” trope was the early (and excellent) Robert Siodmak outing Der Mann, Der Seinen Mörder Sucht (1931; vt The Man who Searched for his Own Murderer; vt Jim, der Mann mit der Narbe; vt Jim, the Man with the Scar). Luckily I didn’t actually say so, because this Hollywood silent precedes it by fifteen years or so.

Penniless August “Augy” Holliday (Fairbanks), “the hero of this story, an artist by profession, is long on temperament and short on funds. He can draw everything except a salary.” The rent collector (Higby) is after him; perhaps yet more dangerously, the other day, while dodging said rent collector by sketching in the local park, Augy saw “the most beautiful woman in the world”: Gladys (Carmen). The portrait that he has painted of her is, he believes, his best work ever. But how can an impecunious artist woo a society babe like Gladys?

Flirting with Fate 1916 - Augy's first sight of Gladys

Augy’s (Douglas Fairbanks) first sight of the beautiful Gladys (Jewel Carmen).

Luckily Augy has a pal in the rich Harry Hansum (Laurence). Harry gets him some fine clothes, promises him money, and arranges an introduction at Gladys’s home. Augy’s attempts at wooing lack couth, unsettling Gladys; her Auntie (Langdon) has anyway lined her up for suave Roland Dabney (Gaye). Luckily Continue reading