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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Those Rib-Tickling Drews Are Back


Sidney Drew's Wedding Nightmare in Miss Stickie-Moufie Kiss (1915)

One of nine fascinating shorts in Unknown Video's Nickelodia 3 disc. Sidney Drew seeks solace of sea drowning over continued marriage to "human fly paper" of a Mrs., her part enacted by real-life partner and wife, standard-billed "Mrs. Sidney Drew." Miss Sticky-Moufie-Kiss sounds funny, but actually isn't, being tragi-comedy made by men who'd obviously wed in haste to repent at leisure. The set-up and suicide ending (!) unravels in a reel, Sid the soldier home from trenches whose intended does a regress to baby talk and manner. This all came under heading of "genteel" comedy as practiced by Vitagraph in opposition to pie-toss at Sennett. Folks laughed less at their stuff, but Vita won plaudits of stuff-shirt critics and commentators who thought slapstick was getting out of hand. John Bunny had been the company's first humor brand till death cleared for the Drews and a replacement series.

Moving Picture World thought Miss Sticky-Moufie-Kiss was OK, but noted that "a greater variety of situations would have improved the play." That reference to a "play" was perhaps spill-off from Sidney Drew's being a theatre name and fount of prestige, him among other things, a Barrymore relation. Toward added names of weight, MPW noted illustrator James Montgomery Flagg as creative contributor, his titles design, and maybe contribution to text of same, being a lure to those who knew his art from popular magazines. Sidney Drew was a subtle and accomplished farceur, his look of mortification a bridge across the near-century that's passed since this short was made. "Is salt water sweet?," he asks his new wife before wading out to blue-tint oblivion in evening attire. Such ancient reels as Miss Sticky-Moufie-Kiss seldom chickened out ...

More of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew at Greenbriar Archives HERE.  

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