Seven Chances (Buster Keaton, 1925)
A man learns he will inherit a fortune if he marries. By 7 p.m. Today.
Being the last Buster Keaton film on my Pantheon Director feature, Seven Chances is a race against the clock that displays a frenetic chase that its star is better known to be recognized for. In this 56 minutes movie our little Buster does pretty much what we are patiently expecting from him: comedy, outstanding physical gags, and all that with his legendary stone face.
Jimmy Shannon (Buster Keaton) learns that he must be married by 7 p.m. the day of his 27th anniversary to inherit the seven million dollars of his grandfather. The love his life (Ruth Dwyer) refuses to marry him when she learns that he proposed only because of the money. Then, he’s going on a chase to find any girl who would be available and willing to marry a man on the same day that she meets him.
The thin plot of the movie and the simple execution of Keaton’s film are the main reasons why this film doesn’t stand amongst the auteur’s better achievements. Some gags are repeated and some are less inspired than others. Making many films in the same year might also be one of the facts that may have brought down Seven Chances. Its story and popularity has inspired many reuses and remakes. To defend itself, Seven Chances has one of the best chase scene of any Buster Keaton you can find. However, the setup of the story seems to be around this superbly executed sequence.
Overall, Keaton’s athletic abilities and his strength in making some of the funniest gags of his time didn’t really held the film as it should. Being one of the lesser Keaton I’ve ever seen I can honestly say that even if it’s a lesser film it is still a good movie and one of the most successful films of its time. Recommended.