6.9/10
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3 user 1 critic

He Done His Best (1926)

Charley becomes manager of a restaurant owned by his girlfriend's father, and attempts to update it with a number of unusual devices.
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Cast

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(as Charley Bowers)
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Storyline

When Charley asks a young woman whom he is in love with to marry him, she tells him that he needs to get her father's consent. But when Charley then goes to see her father, who owns a restaurant, he ends up getting hired as a dishwasher instead. The rest of the kitchen staff soon find out that Charley is not a member of their union, and they go on strike. Charley is left by himself, leading to a series of upheavals in the restaurant. Written by Snow Leopard

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Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Release Date:

4 October 1926 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Une invention moderne  »

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1.33 : 1
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Second in a series of 13 Whirlwind Comedies produced by Charles R. Bowers. See more »

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User Reviews

 
You can get anything you want, at Bricolo's restaurant
19 October 2006 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

This charming silent comedy can be found on a two-disc collection of Charley Bowers' work, compiled a few years ago by the French company Lobster Films, which is available in the U.S. from Image Entertainment. The print of He Done His Best offered in this set is the French version entitled "Invention Moderne," and unfortunately no English translation is provided for the title cards, but the story is easy to follow even if your high school French is a bit rusty. Despite the abrupt and downbeat ending it's one of Bowers' most accessible and amusing comedies, and could serve as a good introduction to this off-the-wall comedian for anyone who hasn't encountered him before.

He Done His Best offers only a modest sampling of the amazing animated effects Bowers devised for his top-flight classics, such as A Wild Roomer and Now You Tell One, but Charley himself is more likable in this film. Even fans will admit that Bowers' on screen persona can be off-putting. He usually played a socially awkward "techno-geek," as we would say nowadays, more interested in his weird machines and inventions than in anyone or anything else. Like Larry Semon, Bowers generally comes off as something of a freak, a cartoon character rather than a human being we can relate to or root for. Here, however, Charley is unusually sympathetic: his actions are as strange as ever, but he's motivated by the desire to win the girl of his dreams. To marry her, he must first get permission from her father, a restaurateur. But the father misunderstands Charley's intentions and puts him to work as a dishwasher in his restaurant. The other employees discover that Charley is non-union labor and angrily walk out (an amusing bit of social satire), which forces Charley to become a one-man staff. When an unexpected mishap practically destroys the place, Charley promises his boss that he'll rebuild it better than ever.

The comedy really takes off in the second half, when we get a look at the newly refurbished restaurant. Since this is a Charley Bowers short it's no surprise that he's revamped the diner as a fully automated establishment, complete with an elaborate system of tubes designed to convey food to each table. There's a great series of animated gags involving food preparation (the oyster soup and the hash bits are the highlights) that are pure Bowers: nobody else's comedies featured such elaborate, intricate sequences. In the end, things don't work out so well for our hero, but at least we feel his pain. Story-wise He Done His Best lives up to its title, and while it may not be the very best of Charley Bowers' surviving works it's an enjoyable and offbeat comedy, offering a good sample of what this highly idiosyncratic film-maker could accomplish in his prime.


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