Thursday, April 19, 2018

Where to Watch Reginald Denny's Silent Movies (Part 1)!

Reginald Denny photographed by Freulich in 1926.
Reginald Denny has become a favorite actor of mine. There are quite a few reasons why he appeals to me as an actor and as a person. He was incredibly good-looking, manly, but also warm and sensitive. He was never hammy as an actor and always gave genuine performances. Off the screen, he seemed like a really lovely man with a wonderful sense of humor. He had many hobbies, loved sports, horses, and hunting. He was also most certainly a family man (he had four children between his two marriages). Reginald Denny lived a fascinating, full, and interesting life.

Mr. Denny was under contract to Universal Pictures from 1922-1929 and mostly made comedies with a mix of dramas and some boxing movies as well (Denny was an amateur boxing champion off the screen and it shows!).
Reginald Denny photographed by Edward Thayer Monroe in 1926.
Reginald Denny is not often mentioned as a great comedic actor, but I can tell you that he was a gifted comedic actor who excelled in situational comedies. The situations that his characters get into and his reactions to these situations, is what make his movies so hilarious and enjoyable. There is very little to no slapstick in his movies, which I personally appreciate as, I don't gravitate towards slapstick.
Reginald Denny photographed by Freulich in the 1920's. 
I have at this point watched a plethora of his movies from the fabulous Skinner's Dress Suit (1926) to Sherlock Holmes And The Voice Of Terror (1942). In this post, I am going to focus on where you can watch his silent movies that were released between the years of 1922 and 1925. Reginald Denny's silent movie career deems to be rediscovered by younger generations because of his charming and easygoing personality and his natural ability to act in comedies.

The Leather Pushers series (1922)

Reginald Denny photographed by Freulich for The Leather Pushers in 1922.
Reginald Denny was cast as the alternating personalities of Kane Halliday/Kid Roberts in The Leather Pushers two-reelers, which was based on The Collier's Weekly stories by author H. C. Witwer. The basic story is about a young man named Kane Halliday, who is a wealthy ex-college athlete, whose Father has become broke. Halliday has to then go into the real world and make a living for himself and ends up as a prizefighter. Kane Halliday becomes alias Kid Roberts in the boxing ring. Unfortunately and fortunately, only episodes 2 and 3 exist today. Denny shot to stardom after the release of this series! They are quite enjoyable and show how athletic and charming Reginald Denny was.

You can view episodes 2 and 3 online at the Internet Archive for free.

Or if like me, you want to watch these on a big T.V. screen, you can buy them at Amazon on two separate DVDS! I hope that more of the episodes are rediscovered in the future.

The Kentucky Derby (1922)

An Ad for The Kentucky Derby (1922).
A glass slide for The Kentucky Derby (1922).
The Kentucky Derby (1922), was the first starring role for Reginald Denny at Universal Pictures. Denny was not at this point known for his comedy and The Kentucky Derby is most certainly not a comedy! Denny plays Donald Gordon, the son of a Kentucky man, who wants to enter his horse Duke Charles into The Kentucky Derby, and makes a bet with his neighbor that Duke Charles will beat his neighbors horse, whose name is Twilight. There is plenty of drama with a secret marriage, an abduction, false identities, and of course, in the end, the actual Kentucky Derby race. It's sort of a strange movie, but Denny does well as the lead and exhibits that lovely grin of his.

You can buy this on DVD from Alpha DVD on Amazon!

Oh, Doctor! (1925)

Reginald Denny with glasses and all in Oh, Doctor! (1925).
Reginald Denny and Mary Astor in Oh, Doctor! (1925).
By 1925, Reginald Denny was a household name for movie-going audiences. He was known for his comedies and appealed to all types of people, from the young to the old and from girls to boys. Denny plays Rufus Billups Jr. in Oh, Doctor! (1925). He is a hypochondriac, and has been this way since he was a young boy. Rufus is scared of almost everything. This includes getting/feeling sick (in which he takes all of these crazy sort of remedies), dogs, and pork chops. Denny gets into some crazy hilarious situations throughout the entire movie. Oh, Doctor! is a fun comedy, co-starring a young and lovely Mary Astor, as Denny's nurse whom he falls in love with.

Oh, Doctor! (1925), is available to watch on YouTube!

You can also buy the DVD on Amazon!

California Straight Ahead (1925)

A lobby card for California Straight Ahead (1925).
A poster for California Straight Ahead (1925).
California Straight Ahead (1925), is one of my favorite Reginald Denny comedies! Denny plays Tom Hayden, who is at his bachelor party and is about to get married to the beautiful and sweet Gertrude Olmstead. Well of course, it's a Reginald Denny comedy and crazy things start happening. Like they should. What's great about Denny's comedies is that silly situations are played out in the most realistic ways possible. Denny races, dances, and of course throughout all of the chaos, wins the girl in the end. This movie is FUN with a lot of laughs!

You can buy the DVD on Amazon!

That's it for now! For part 2, I will focus on Reginald Denny's silent movies that were made between the years of 1926 and 1929, which are available to watch for your enjoyment!

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