Seven Chances (1925)
Charlie Chaplin is oblivious to his surroundings, rarely discovering what dangers are headed his way. Buster Keaton, on the other hand, knows that he's in trouble, it's escaping that trouble that makes his movies enjoyable. He always has the best intentions, but he always puts his foot in his mouth. Every time he tries to do good, he always ends up making a big mess. If you take one shot from "Seven Chances", where Buster Keaton is being chased down the street by hundreds of women dressed in bridal clothes, armed with bricks ready to knock him out, you might come away with many theories. The movie could be a slap in the face to women, portraying them as materialistic creatures, amassing and behaving in a herd-like fashion. It could also be seen as a question of the sanctity of marriage, and certainly there are enough homo-erotic moments to doubly confirm this.
Though I doubt there was that much thought put into the piece. Keaton likes to entertain, and here "Seven Chances" is a very funny, very entertaining adventure.
Part of a company that has taken a financial nose-dive, James Shannon (Keaton) is wary of lawyers. One shows up at his office to bring him good news, but he is too scared of the man to even speak to him. Ducking out back doors, running into country clubs, Shannon and his partner evade the lawyer.
Finally, catching up to the two, the lawyer informs them that James' grandfather has left him seven million dollars in his will, provided that he gets married by 7 p.m. on his 27th birthday...which just so happens to be today.
James has a great idea, he'll ask the girl he's always loved to marry him, he runs to her house and proposes to her...she accepts. Then when he lets her know that he needs to run off the church to get married, because he has to get married or he won't get the money, she essentially slaps him in the face and walks off.
The partner and the lawyer make a list of seven possible women for Keaton to propose to...he has to get married or they'll be no money and no more company.
The physical stunts, as with most Keaton movies, are quite spectacular. At one point, Keaton is dangling on the end of a construction crane and whipped this way and that. Another moment, sees him hitching a ride on the back of a car which crashes into a stationary trolley.
It's a short movie, less than an hour long; but each scene is funny and quiet endearing.
It would be remiss to not include this piece when mentioning Keaton's career.
"Seven Chances" may be slightly bitter, and ludicrous; but then again, it was meant to be...what's wrong with that?
Posted by Micah Jones