Harry Langdon’s name is always there when you get asked to name the top-ranking American comedians of the silent era, though he tends to be the name that you come up with last. He was a talented comedian, especially when working with sympathetic directorial and writing talents who could help bring out the best from his baby-face looks and unworldly demeanour that nevertheless had him triumphing over adversity every time. He is an acquired taste, but an oddly captivating presence once you let his films do their work.
There’s now an excellent website devoted to him, with the fine web address of www.feetof mud.com (derived from the title of one of his Mack Sennett shorts), created by Tim Greer. Simply and clearly laid out, it comprises a filmography (1923-1945); an articles section with biography, short pieces by musician Ben Model, film historian Brent Walker and others, plus contemporary reviews; an extras section with portraits, bibliography, DVDs (unfortunately without links, which would have been helpful), news and more; a links page; and a contact page with information on the author.
The design is engaging, the enthusiasm infectious, and it’s made me determined to check out his films again to remind me of his particular comic gift. Job done.