Year Released: 1915
Distributor: Kino Classics
Running Time: 11 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: PG
Related Films/Series: N/A
For Fans Of: A Reckless Rover, Mercy the Mummy Mumbled
-This review reflects the remastered version of the Pioneers of African-American Cinema collection as seen on DVD, Blu-Ray, and on Netflix.
-Director Frank Montgomery has directed 122 films and was an actor in Two Knights of Vaudeville.
I now have beaten a record in Iridium Eye. Move over, A Reckless Rover. I now have a new movie that predates that short film by three years. This short film came out a hundred and three years ago. How mind blowing. I guess that’s what happens when one checks out films from the silent era that not many people are talking about. One can argue that most people’s great-grandparents weren’t even born yet when this little film debuted. Is this a hidden treasure or kitschy relic of the past? Let’s find out.
Two Knights of Vaudeville is about two guys who try to get into a Vaudeville show. They have tickets and take a lady friend in to said show. Once they get in, one of them starts to copy the performers like juggling or acrobatics. They get kicked out for their disruption of the show. However, both of them try to put on a show of their own and get their friends to be involved in it.
I will say the restoration job was quite masterful. Everything was clear as could be despite the film’s age. I’ve reviewed films that came out years and even decades later that haven’t held up as well when it comes to the visuals. The people at Kino Classics should be commended for the remastering. I also liked the ragtime soundtrack playing throughout the movie. It was fun and bouncy while fitting the mood of the short film.
With all of that said about the visuals and music, I can’t say the same about the contents and context of the plot. The storyline is quite flimsy and I didn’t find it funny. Even the slapstick felt so forced. What really frustrated me was the plot of making a show. On paper, this would be a great inspirational story on people making it on their own, but that’s not what happens. The signs are horribly misspelled at their show and there’s too much buffoonery (I’m sparing you a word that rhymes with it despite someone like me being able to get away with saying that word) going on for me to enjoy it. Much like my issues with A Reckless Rover, these guys just shuck and jive their way throughout the movie which left a sour taste in my mouth. The fact that Ebony Films was a front for a White-owned company really shows up here especially given the race relations when Jim Crow was rampant.
Two Knights of Vaudeville is better left forgotten. There’s great remastering and the updated score worked fine which I do applaud. However, I cannot stand whenever minorities get typecast into buffoonish and cartoonish roles while making them look unintelligent. Sure, White silent comedies had stuff like this, but nowhere to this severity and consistency even by 1910s standards. Please skip this at all costs.
Adjustable Point System:
Add 1 point if you really like silent films
-Amazing restoration job with the visuals
-It’s very short
-Racial stereotypes on full display
Final Score: 1/10 points
Content Warning: It’s a tame movie. There’s some slapstick violence, but I’m more concerned about the Black stereotypes littered throughout the short film.
All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. Two Knights of Vaudeville is property of Ebony Films and Kino Classics. The image used is from IMDb and is property of Kino Classics.