Short films with Karl Valentin | Chicago Reader

Short films with Karl Valentin

The last of four programs curated by the Goethe-Institut in honor of German film comedian Karl Valentin, this collection of two-reelers shows how much Valentin could do with a few simple props: in The Confirmation Candidate (1934) he plays a drunken father treating his giggly young son (Liesl Karlstadt) to lunch, and the inspired muddle he creates out of a table, two chairs, an umbrella, and a watch chain rivals some of Laurel and Hardy's best moments. Also worth seeing is The Inheritance (1936), in which Valentin and Karlstadt play an impoverished old couple who learn that they've inherited a fine bedroom set, destroy their old furniture, and then discover that the new furniture was made for midgets. The Nazis weren't amused by its depiction of want in the fatherland, and the short wasn't screened for the public until 1976, nearly 30 years after Valentin himself had died in poverty. 78 min.

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