Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Rag Man (1924)

The Rag Man's an agreeable Jackie Cooper and Max Davidson comedy/drama, unseen for many decades, but shown on television for the first time on Turner Classic Movies in 2004.

Max Davidson plays a junkman who takes orphan Cooper in as a companion and business partner. Though the movie could have went down the path of pathos (as Chaplin's The Kid did, also starring Cooper as an orphan), it doesn't go there.

It does entertain for its duration, with lots of scenes tailored for Cooper's charming facial expressions and body language. (Davidson's character, ill for much of the film, spends most of his time in a chair or bed - I can barely remember him walking across the room in this movie!). It's a pity Davidson's career took a nose dive after the arrival of sound (to the point that his last roles were uncredited); anyone who's seen his '20s comedy shorts can attest to this German actor's talents.

The Rag Man also has some nicely historic location footage shot in New York and a new score for small orchestra by Linda Martinez - a score that borders on being too dissonant but, again, doesn't go that route.

MGM made a sequel to The Rag Man, Old Clothes, the same year with the same cast and director, excepting the sequel also starred a young Joan Crawford. A print of the film reportedly still exists.


Jayne said...

Oh my, by happy, happy, happenstance I stumbled upon Stars in Heaven. I did. And brought cursor to star, to bookmark another.
Thank you.

Michael N. said...

I'm glad you found us, Jayne! I'm hoping to have new reviews posted weekly.