Sunday, June 23, 2013

Silent Sundays: Matchmaking Mamma (1929)

“It’s a wise matchmaker who doesn’t get her fingers burned on the first match.”

            Matchmaking Mamma is a short silent film from 1929 that was made by Mac Sennett.
            A woman named Mrs. McNitt is a social climbing pain in the rear. She is running a pageant for a charity event where the rich and wealthy of the area will be in attendance. Mrs. McNitt wants her daughter Phyllis (Carole Lombard) to marry the pageants leading man Larry Lodge. Phyllis in the mean time has her eyes on another man and not one her mother would approve of.
            Mrs. McNitt’s husband has a daughter from his first marriage just as she has Phyllis. Mrs. McNitt married her husband on the condition that his daughter Sally would stay at a convent. She is furious because Sally is coming for a visit.
            During rehearsals Larry gets a tear in his pants. Phyllis tells him to go into the kitchen where the maid will stitch it for him. Sally entered the house through the kitchen. While she was waiting in there she sees something is burning in the stove. The only way she can take it out is by putting her hands under dress. Larry walks in on Sally taking the pan out of the oven. He thinks she is the maid and has her stitch his pants. Larry likes Sally a lot. He walks out of the kitchen to go back to rehearsals but then he decides to go back. When he returns he sees Sally sitting with Mr. McNitt and he thinks Sally is the older man’s sweetheart.
            The situation is cleared up when Sally tells Larry Mr. McNitt is her father. The pageant’s director has Sally stand in for Phyllis in a scene for Larry to practice. The lead characters are supposed to kiss. When Sally and Larry kiss it is very passionate just what the director was looking for. Mrs. McNitt sees the scene play out behind a screen where all she can see is their outlines. She thinks Larry has proposed to Phyllis. She comes around to the other side and sees the figures were Sally and Larry. Out of fury Mrs. McNitt tells her stepdaughter that Larry is practically engaged to Phyllis and that he is a playboy and flirt. Sally becomes upset with Larry and does not want to speak to him.
            Of course Sally winds up happily ever after with Larry much to Mrs. McNitt’s dismay. And to further her dismay Phyllis marries the other man.

            Matchmaking Mamma was cute and sweet. Seeing Carole Lombard so young (she was twenty-one!) and in a silent was really cool since I have only ever seen her in her talking films. If you know who she you will be able to notice her but she looks so different than she did in her later films… well you can tell it is her by her smile if you have seen Lombard in other films. Matchmaking Mamma is available to view in three parts in Youtube. It is worth seeing since it is funny and it also has a few Technicolor scenes and Carole Lombard is in one.