Our Congressman (1924)

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Although vaudeville star Will Rogers had only limited success in silent films -- in fact, he lost quite a bit of money financing his early movie career -- he did make a series of comic shorts that had the same sort of sharp, yet folksy humor that finally brought him movie fame in the talkie era. This two-reeler is the second in a series; the first one, Going to Congress, showed Rogers' adventures being elected to the U.S. Congress. Our Congressman shows what happens once he arrives in Washington. Some of the humor is slapped on in broad strokes, such as the scenes which show his lack of etiquette, but there's also a lot of subtle satire, especially in the subtitles, which were apparently written by Rogers himself. With his earthy humor Rogers pokes fun at politics in an intelligent fashion that was not often seen in two-reel comedies. In spite of the actor's rural demeanor, his material was clearly for an educated audience.