Villian Still Pursued Her, The

107. THE VILLAIN STILL PURSUED HER (1940-usa). With buster keaton, hugh herbert, ANITA LOUISE, AWN MOWBRAY, JOYCE COMPTON, RICHARD CROMWELL, BILLY GILBERT, MARGARET HAMILTON. Directed by EDWARD CLINE. Mel BrooksÑmove over! Here’s a genuinely original and hilarious spoOf made decades ago, yet as fresh as ever. This film has everything you’d expect to find in a Victorian or silent-film melodramaÑonly it’s all deliberately exaggerated to the point Of utter absurdity. The snarling, mustachioed villain performs the most despicable deeds imaginable to foreclose on the mortgage and to take over the farm owned by the innocent, harp-playing heroine and her saintly, widowed mother, In the meantime, the noble, sparkling-toothed hero succumbs to the temptations Of demon rum, and is unable to help the long-suffering women. The audience is told to applaud the hero and hiss the villain; the characters continÂually make ridiculous asides to the camera; the acting is as flamboyantly overdone as possible; there are lines like “Your hot lascivious breath is not fit to mingle with the odor Of these fragrant (Towers;” and at crucial moments Of sentimentality or suspense, there are sudden interruptions by title cards (“Will Mrs. Jones please come to the lobbyÑher baby carriage is leaking!”}. After falling to the depths Of degradation, the hero redeems himself, and with the aid Of his faithful and patient friend (Buster Keaton, whose absolute deadpan emphasizes the other actors’ histrionics even more), defeats the villain at the last minute. CursesÑfoiled again! 68 minutes. Keaton