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Seven Chances

Release date: March 11, 1925
Length: Six reels
Presented by: Buster Keaton Productions, Inc.
Distributed by: Metro-Goldwyn
Producer: Joseph M. Schenck
Director: Buster Keaton
Script: Clyde Bruckman, Jean Havez and Joseph Mitchell, based on the play by Roi Cooper Megrue
Photography: Elgin Lessley and Byron Houck
Electrician: Denver Harmon
Technical Director: Fred Gabourie

Cast:
Buster Keaton: Jimmie Shannon
Ruth Dwyer: Mary Jones
T. Roy Barnes: Billy Meekin
Snitz Edwards: The Lawyer
Frankie Raymond: Mrs. Jones
Jules Cowles: Hired Hand
Erwin Connelly: The Minister


 

Seasons come and seasons go, but Jimmie Shannon cannot tell Mary Jones how much he loves her. That is, until…a lawyer representing the estate of Jimmie's recently deceased grandfather, shows up at Jimmie's office to read him the will. Jimmie, the junior partner of a brokerage firm on the verge of financial disaster, thinks the lawyer is trying to serve him with a summons. Determined to wait for Jimmie, the lawyer sits outside his office unaware that Jimmie and his partner Billy have slipped out. At the Country Club for lunch, Jimmie and Billy glimpse the will through the window as the lawyer holds it up to the pane. Surprised, Jimmie welcomes the lawyer to a nearby office to discuss his inheritance.

Jimmie is nearly in shock when he learns that his grandfather has bequeathed him $7 million, provided he is married by 7 p.m. of his 27th birthday, which just happens to be today. Aware that he has only a few hours left to wed, Jimmie hurries to Mary's house to propose. Mary quickly accepts, but changes her mind when Jimmie inadvertently insults her, by saying that he has to marry some girl, in order to inherit the money. Downhearted, he returns to the Club, where Billy and the lawyer anxiously await his news.

Billy and the lawyer encourage Jimmie to ask any of the young women he knows to marry him, because the inheritance will save the company as well. When Jimmie
names all the eligible women he can ask, Billy tells him that he has seven chances to find a bride. His proposals make him the laughing stock of the Club, as he strikes out with all seven. Even when he thinks he's finally made a hit, it's with a little girl who is playing dress-up. Humiliated, Jimmie leaves the Club and heads downtown in search of a willing bride. He ends up proposing to everyone and anyone who is not in trousers. Billy offers to run an advertisement in the newspaper for a 5 p.m. wedding at the local church, and Jimmie reluctantly agrees to be there.

Arriving early at the church, an exhausted Jimmie takes a cat- nap on the front pew. Meanwhile, women from all over the city have decided to answer the ad. Jimmie awakens from slumber to discover he is living a nightmare as the church overflows with overly eager brides of every make and model. When the horrified minister sees the chaos, he tells the women that they're the victims of a practical joker. Jimmie quickly finds out that love hath no fury like 500 brides scorned, as he escapes their wrath by jumping out a window and then into the church's basement.

Also hiding in the basement is Mary's hired hand, who was trying to bring Jimmie an acceptance note from Mary, but was frightened by all the women. Jimmie now knows that Mary is the only one for him. Crawling out of the basement, Jimmie runs downtown to evade the angry throng, only to meet up with them at every corner. Seeing the crazy turn of events, Billy offers to get the minister to Mary's house before 7 p.m.

The angry brides continue their chase by dismantling a wall and pelting Jimmie with bricks, commandeering a trolley car to run him over and finally, operating a huge crane as he hangs from its hoisting hook. Their dogged pursuit takes Jimmie through barbed wire, overturned beehives, and a duck blind. Desperate to get away, he leaps across deep crevices in the landscape, and somersaults down a very steep hill, dislodging a few rocks. The rocks give way to hundreds of boulders that follow his every step, as they tumble down the slope. The brides are scared away as the boulders meet them at the bottom of the hill.

Racing to Mary's house, Billy's watch shows that Jimmie has arrived too late to marry and gain his inheritance. Crushed, Jimmie stares despondently out the door explaining to Mary why he can't marry her. As he glances up at the clock on the church's bell tower, Jimmie sees that he actually has three minutes to wed before the hour hand strikes 7 p.m. Married at last, the only thing to come between them now is Mary's pet Great Dane. — Janice Agnello