Chase called the Hal Roach Studios home from the early 1920s through 1936. While he did his finest work during the silent era, often in collaboration with director Leo McCarey, Charley made a smooth transition to sound—like his colleagues Laurel & Hardy and Our Gang—and his two-reelers continued to be popular with audiences. But by the mid-1930s Hal Roach no longer saw an economic future in making shorts. Chase’s would-be starring feature, Neighborhood House, was trimmed to short-subject length and his contract allowed to expire. Producer-director Jules White wasted no time in signing him to a contract as performer, director, and associate producer for the short-subject unit at Columbia.
Working for Columbia would be considered a comedown for such former luminaries as Harry Langdon and Buster Keaton, but this was more of a lateral move for Chase, who did his best work in the two-reel format. What’s more, White wisely paired him with director Del Lord, a silent-comedy veteran who spoke the same language. They often shot on outdoor locations (a “luxury” that cost-cutting all but eliminated from Columbia shorts by the mid-1940s) and tried to give these films the look and feel of Charley’s earlier vehicles, even borrowing vintage gags from time to time. Charley is supported by such able costars as leading lady Ann Doran (who loved working with him), familiar comedy cohorts like Vernon Dent, Bud Jamison, and John T. Murray, and up-and-coming contract players like Robert Sterling and James Craig.
As a bonus, Sony has included a rarely-seen 1938 short called A Nag in the Bag, directed by Chase and starring the fabled vaudeville team of Joe Smith and Charley Dale. Like all the shorts on this disc the picture and sound quality are superb. When I spoke to Joe Smith some thirty years later he, like actress Ann Doran, had nothing but fond memories of working with Chase. I look forward to Volume 2 with the hope that Sony will include more of the shorts Chase directed with Andy Clyde, Walter Catlett and other comics from the same period.
To purchase this DVD and other Sony Choice Collection titles, including newly-remastered titles from the 1930s through the television era, click HERE.
Age of Innocence...cont. http://t.co/9utyNlkmvd @IDFAindustry @Indiegogo @letgotogrow @BeMoreBeNow @LeonCharney @leonardmaltinPosted 6 hours ago
Classic Film Reader Daily is out! http://t.co/qvqTqNaMHK Stories via @leonardmaltin @LouLumenickPosted 1 day ago
RT @KQEDForum: We're talking best films of 2013 LIVE w/ @leonardmaltin and other crtics. What's your pick? http://t.co/y7wY7fIiT7Posted 1 day ago
We're talking best films of 2013 LIVE w/ @leonardmaltin and other crtics. What's your pick? http://t.co/y7wY7fIiT7Posted 1 day ago