Jack Benny Looking For A Screen Persona
The Rounder (1930) A Single-Reel Curio
Jack Benny, dapper in straw boater, is the title figure attempting drunken entry into upstairs window of a residence not his own. That means ladders, a curious cop, and business not played to Jack's strength, which in 1930 was not so clear as radio would establish a few years later. Jack had scored in vaudeville, played the Palace, but was slower to conquer movies. His emceeing of The Hollywood Revue Of 1929 wasn't noteworthy, and a surrounding cast in The Rounder seemed more congenial to film work. His character is described by Dorothy Sebastian as a man who "laughs and drinks and scoffs at life," but dissolute didn't become the Benny we'd come to love. Neither he nor Sebastian are quick on verbal uptake, but that may have been uncertainty re talking technology new to both. She'd been girl support to Keaton and part of flapper retinue at MGM, candles burnt at both ends offscreen, but only one wick lit when onscreen, partnering with Sebastian leaving comics with most of a load to carry. Briefer-in George K. Arthur had been half of a sock team with Karl Dane, but they were for most part done by 1930, and he'd tumble down billing from there. Appearing even less was Polly Moran, on verge of success with Marie Dressler, giving The Rounder halves of Metro comedy teams both going out and coming in. The short is DVD-available on Warner Archive's Classic Shorts From The Dream Factory, Volume Two.