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Blunders of Mr. Butterbun, The: Tripps and Tribunals (1918)


Main image of Blunders of Mr. Butterbun, The: Tripps and Tribunals (1918)
35mm, black and white, silent, 1708 feet (incomplete)
DirectorFred Rains
Production CompanyHagen and Double
ProducerJulius Hagen
StudioPhoenix Studio

Cast: Lupino Lane (Mr Butterbun); Fred Rains (Vicar)

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Mr Butterbun presides over the appeals of a series of would-be WWI draft evaders.

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In this comedy, Mr Butterbun, played by Lupino Lane, receives a request to lead an appeal tribunal for WWI conscripts and rushes off (after much comic business getting dressed). The Board is shown at work judging the conscription appeals of various comic characters who attempt to fool or bribe them with the usual excuses - being too old, too young, engaged on important war work, widowed mothers to care for and so on. Chaos ensues as the Board members make their decisions. In the second part, the Board members go off to the races and subsequently to a restaurant and ring up a huge bill on champagne which they are unable to pay; consequently they are kicked out. Mr Butterbun goes home very drunk (with more comic business) to face his angry wife.

This is one of only two surviving episodes of this series of nine two-reelers, most starring Lupino Lane, who was already well established as a star of the halls in sketches, musical comedy and pantomime. This is indicated by the opening simultaneous inset of Lupino as himself and as Mr Butterbun. The series was issued as part of the Kinekature Comedies, which exploited a patented gimmick which distorted the film image for comic effect. The transformation was often triggered by a device such as a magic ring in the same style as other such pantomime devices, including Alf's Button, Ali Baba's magic lantern etc.

Bryony Dixon

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Video Clips
Complete surviving extract (25:19)
Film and Music Hall