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With: Charles R. Bowers, Kathryn McGuire, Melbourne MacDowell, Buster Brodie
Written by: Charles R. Bowers
Directed by: Charles R. Bowers, Harold L. Muller
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 288
Date: 07/09/2019

The Extraordinary World of Charley Bowers (2019)

4 Stars (out of 4)

With Great Bowers

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This essential two-disc Blu-ray collection collects 17 surviving films and fragments by American comedian and cartoonist Charley Bowers (1889-1946), who was nearly erased from history -- he's not even mentioned in James Agee's seminal 1949 essay "Comedy's Greatest Era" -- until intrepid film enthusiasts re-discovered his works in the 1960s in France. (Many of these prints contain French intertitles, now accompanied by English subtitles.) The set includes a Mutt and Jeff cartoon, an animated military industrial, some stop-motion shorts, and a few talkies, but the highlight are the silent-era shorts, filled with Bowers's bizarre inventions and surreal imagery (I'll never forget seeing dozens of little cars hatched from eggs in 1926's Egged On), as well as some solid slapstick gags. Bowers deserves a place beside the great comedians of the silent era, and this set is a must-own for silent comedy enthusiasts. Flicker Alley's release includes a detailed liner notes booklet, a featurette, and a stills gallery.

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