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Same old question: How to marry a millionaire? That’s what Flo and Marian – two mannequins running out of money – ask themselves. For a change they pretend to be rich widows and see what happens. The roles are clearly assigned: Jacqueline Logan is “The Pretty One”, Louise Fazenda “The Funny One”. Unlike Logan, Fazenda was a comedienne through and through, rising in the 1910s to become the second biggest female comedy star next to Mabel Normand. Different from her earlier slapstick films, Footloose Widows foreshadows the depression era comedies with their disillusioned female characters never short for a sharp reply. While playing in a rather “sophisticated” way here, Fazenda’s performance is not one bit less amusing than her anarchic work in slapstick films.

Footloose Widows is accompanied by pianist Eunice Martins who is the resident silent film musician at cinema Arsenal in Berlin since 2000. She has made guest appearances at numerous international festivals, theatres and cinematheques, in Italy, Brazil, China and Taiwan, among others.

The program is introduced (in English) by American comedy expert Steve Massa. He is the author of several books on silent film. In Slapstick Divas. The Women of Silent Comedy (Albany: Bear Manor Media, 2017), Massa delves into the world of now-forgotten comediennes of the silent era and reconstructs nearly 500 biographies of slapstick actresses. Steve Massa is also a curator of film programs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Library of Congress in Washington.