It’s always nice to see a lesser-known silent era star receive a moment in the sun and that’s just what this new collection from Undercrank does with Douglas MacLean, a peppy comedy star of the 1920s.
Ben Model’s Undercrank Productions has been humming away for some time now, releasing quality editions of silent films (especially comedies), many of them previously forgotten or neglected. This crowdfunded disc follows the company tradition of shining light on a household name from the silent era.
If you’ve seen Douglas MacLean at all, it was probably as one of Mary Pickford’s suitors in Johanna Enlists (1918) but his solo work has been thin on the ground for about a century. He specialized in the kind of breezy modern comedy that made another Douglas (Fairbanks) a superstar and that kept Reginald Denny and Charley Chase busy throughout the silent era.
This collection has two MacLean vehicles from the early 1920s, One a Minute (1921) and Bellboy 13 (1923). You can order a copy here.
Bellboy 13 looks pretty good and One a Minute sparkles. Check out some screen grabs and see for yourself:
One a Minute
The films feature professional scores by Ben Model, of course, and there is also a vintage featurette on the Thomas Ince studio, where Douglas MacLean was a star.
I am delighted to see such a high quality showcase for a forgotten silent star and these light, fun films are surely a welcome distraction right now. Enjoy!
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