Alf’s Carpet (1929)

aka The Rocket Bus
Article 3170 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-17-2010
Posting Date: 4-19-2010
Directed by W.P. Kellino
Featuring Carl Schenstrom, Harald Madsen, Gerald Rawlinson
Country: UK
What it is: Fantastically themed comedy

Two ne’er-do-wells happen upon a magic carpet which they use to run their dilapidated second-hand bus. They then agree to help a woman find her missing father.

First of all, a little history. This movie was based on a play that was the sequel to the original play version of ALF’S BUTTON. The story appears to have been changed to accommodate the use of a pair of Danish comedians. The movie was apparently released in both sound and silent versions. Sometime during the sixties or seventies, a silent Danish print of this movie was edited and shown on TV in Germany (where the duo was known as Pat and Patachon) in two half-hour segments. In place of title cards, the story is fleshed out by a German translator who narrates the story and dubs in voices for all the characters. This is the version I’ve just seen. Let’s face it; this is hardly the ideal way to experience a movie.

Still, this is probably the closest I’ll come to seeing the movie. Thanks to doctor kiss, I was armed with a cursory plot description that clears up a few details, but most of the plot is fairly obvious, and since the majority of the humor involves slapstick antics, it’s not really that hard to figure out. The comedians have a bit of character to them, which makes the movie easier to enjoy. I could describe the German dubbing as awful if I felt it was meant to be convincing, but I don’t suspect it was ever meant to be, as the whole affair has that air of being narrated. Some of the special effects are quite good as well. So, despite the fact that my version is quite a long ways from the original movie, I enjoyed it nonetheless. At least I can now mark this one off the list.


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