Seven Years Bad Luck (1921)

Film Review

SEVEN YEARS BAD LUCK

Release Date: 1921

Director: Max Linder

Starring: Max Linder, Alta Allen

Synopsis

Max comes home drunk from his bachelor party. He staggers up his stairs and falls off the stoop before getting in the door. In his bedroom he throws his clothes out the window and throws milk on the clothes in his closet. In the morning, he is hung over. His servants break his mirror and hide the broken pieces from Max. His cook dresses to look like Max and, standing on the other side of the broken mirror, mimics his every move. After the mirror is repaired, Max breaks it again and fears that he will have seven years of bad luck. After dressing Max goes to meet his fiancé (Allen).

Attempts to take various modes of transportation seem to be jinxed, and he walks to her house. Max and his fiancé argue, and she returns his ring. He leaves the city on a train. At a stop his wallet is stolen, and Max has to fool the conductor in order to stay on the train. Max causes chaos on the train, is arrested, and taken before a judge. In the meantime, Max’s false friend proposes to Allen, and to spite Max, she accepts. They and Max appear before the same judge. As the judge is about to marry Allen and the other man, Max intervenes. Max wins back Allen, and the judge marries them.

Discussion

Max Linder, a famous comedian in Europe, produced this film during his second attempt to establish himself in America. Seven Years Bad Luck was the first of three films he made during 1921 and 1922. None were successful, and he returned to France. A viewing of Seven Years Bad Luck affirms a self-assessment attributed to Linder, that the audience finds his "situations" no more than "mildly amusing". Linder has good ideas, but he achieves only mild comedy with them, rather than highly comic, laugh-out-loud, results. The "human mirror" joke, making one of its earliest appearances on film, is carried off smoothly and brings on smiles, but does not contain the funny interactions that produce laughter.