In 1999, Hollywood released a conventional adaptation of an unconventional movie. Titled the Bachelor (made before the long running and formulaic series), it starred Chris O’Donnell and Renee Zellweger. Chris O’Donnell plays a flaky bachelor who inherits a massive amount of money. The only catch is that he must marry by 6 pm on his thirtieth birthday. He must go on an epic search for a bride that would be willing to marry him on such short notice. This leads to a long series of shenanigans until he realizes that he really wants to marry his long time girlfriend. This plot is ripped whole heartedly from an unusual source, a silent comedy made by Buster Keaton. And let me tell you that the original is always better.
The plot is basically what I stated before, only replace the uncharismatic Chris O’Donnell with the amazing comedian Buster Keaton and inject a real reason that he needs the money, mainly saving his company from going bankrupt. Oh and a massive sequence where Keaton runs down a hill being chased by large boulders and brides.
This is a typical Keaton feature, which basically means that it is amazing. Keaton stumbles through the plot with a charismatic aw shucks that endears him to the viewer. He loves his girlfriend but is unable to find the words to express it. For months, as the dog she has as a pet gets bigger, he struggles to propose to his beloved and fails expertly. When he learns that his company is about to go under, he looses hope. When he fails to court several young women, he fails in a way that Keaton can only exhibit. It is only when he is away from the woman he wants does he find the words to express his love.
All of the attributes of this movie are lost once it is updated to modern times. These days getting married isn’t the only way to express your love and women don’t see marriage as a thing to stabilize their lives and provide themselves with a sustainable future. These two things are a given in the silent picture but end up sticking out like a sore thumb in the modern version. So the movie must fumble through several different scenes in order to justify that being a bachelor is a bad thing for the male lead and all women want is a ring on their finger. Where Seven Chances is about a man struggling to save himself from ruin, The Bachelor becomes a long commercial for wedding services. If you were ever put into a situation where you could only watch two movies, the Bachelor or Seven Chances, pick Seven Chances and poop on the other option.