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Film: Seven Chances

1925 Slapstick Romantic Comedy starring and directed by Buster Keaton.

The plot revolves around a young man who on the day of his 27th birthday, finds out that his dead grandfather has left him $7,000,000 (that's $91,000,000 in today's money), but he has to get married by 7:00 of that day. Buster goes to propose to his girlfriend, and she initially accepts, but after he starts babbling about the money and how he has to marry someone today she gets offended and rejects him. Buster then goes on a desperate hunt for any eligible woman willing to marry him that day. Eventually he places an ad in the afternoon newspaper, seeking a bride. This backfires when a horde of women, all in wedding veils, descend upon Buster wanting to get married. Hilarity Ensues.


This film provides examples of:

  • Blackface: The black farm hand being played by a white actor.
  • Break Her Heart To Save Her: Towards the end, James begs his girl not to marry him because his failure and disgrace would rub off on her.
  • Butter Face: A rather disturbingly racist use of this gag. Buster sees a quite shapely woman walking away from him down the street. He dashes after her, only to suddenly veer away after seeing that she's black.
  • Can Not Spit It Out: James is too shy to admit his love to his girl.
  • Clock Discrepancy: Buster's clock runs fast, which he realizes Just in Time to go through with his wedding.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The hero receives the letter from his grandfather exactly the day the ultimatum runs out.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: James had to go through a lot of hardship to get his girl (and the inheritance).
  • Escalating Chase/Everyone Chasing You: Buster is chased by hundreds of women. Along with some rolling boulders.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Unfortunately the circumstances didn't allow for any dating to take place.
  • Fruit Cart: While frantically running away from the enraged flock of brides, Buster runs right into, of all things, an apiary. Boxes of bees are knocked every which way.
  • Gold Digger: A few hundred of them.
  • Hair-Trigger Avalanche: While running downhill, Buster kicks a pebble. Which dislodges some stones. Which knocks off some boulders, until Buster has dozens of rolling rocks on his tail.
  • Impeded Messenger: Played with, twice.
    • First the lawyer who can't seem to get through to James.
    • Also, the black guy who is supposed to submit the love letter to James but gets delayed on his way.
  • Indy Escape: Might very well be the Ur Example.
  • Just in Time: Double subverted with the wedding deadline. First Buster seems to make it in time, but apparently misses ... just to realize his clock was running fast and be still in time.
  • Match Cut: A rather peculiar one. Buster gets in his car to drive to his girlfriend's house. Instead of showing him driving, he gets in the car, and there's a Match Cut to Buster in the exact same position in front of his girlfriend's house. When he leaves, there's an identical, reversed Match Cut to show him in the same position back at the country club.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Especially not by every woman in town!
  • On One Condition: You must get married by the end of your 27th birthday.
  • Race Against the Clock / Race for Your Love: James in the second half of the movie to make it in time for his wedding.
  • Right on the Tick: Buster is desperately racing to get married by 7 pm. When he gets there, his friend's watch says 7:03 and they are all disappointed, until they realize that his watch is fast and the church steeple says 6:58. Buster gets married and gets his $7,000,000.
  • The Runt at the End: A long and elaborate action sequence involves Buster running down a hillside while dodging an avalanche of enormous boulders. After all the boulders have finally rolled past him downhill, Buster stops to catch his breath—and one last cantaloupe-sized rock knocks him off his feet.
  • Splash of Color: The opening scene is shot in early Technicolor.
  • Styrofoam Rocks: The "boulders" rolling downhill aren't tremendously realistic. Justified in the sense that the whole sequence is Played for Laughs anyway.
  • That Came Out Wrong: The girl sulks over James' clumsy line "My grandfather left me a lot of money provided I marry some girl today".
  • Third Act Misunderstanding: A variant where the misunderstanding happens in the first act.
  • Title Drop: The seven society girls that Buster suggests as possible marriage candidates are his "seven chances" to get the money.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Seven million dollars, but only if he gets married that very day.
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: Buster's car bumps into a tree while he was driving the street and facing a girl in the next car.
  • Which Restroom Dilemma: Buster accidentally crashes the "Ladies day" at the Turkish bath because the sign was covered at the entrance.

Our HospitalityFilms of the 1920sSherlock, Jr.

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