Dry and Thirsty (1920, Craig Hutchinson)

Dry and Thirsty is split into two distinct parts. The first part, set on a boardwalk and beach, mostly features protagonist Billy Bletcher. Bletcher, who also wrote the short, resembles Chaplin. The mustache isn’t identical, but it’s close, and the mannerisms suggest a very American Chaplin impression.

He’s not bad and his mad pursuit of liquor is mildly amusing. Thirsty‘s essential component is director Hutchinson. He doesn’t just film the beach area well, he also knows how to film the motion. Hutchinson is able to make Bletcher’s manic impression work. The first half is great-looking.

The second half takes place in a hotel, introducing Vera Reynolds (as Bletcher’s love interest) and John Dempsey (as her husband). It’s funnier, but not because of Bletcher. The hotel’s so busy, there’s a foot traffic director. The gag works better than it should.

It’s an appealing little comedy with some excellent direction.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Craig Hutchinson; written by Billy Bletcher; produced by Al Christie; released by Pathé Exchange.

Starring Billy Bletcher (Horace Radish), Vera Reynolds (Mrs. Tryan) and John Dempsey (William Allways Tryan).

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