Yesterday I went to my first rodeo at the Stanislaus County Fair. Keeping today’s post in a cowboy theme, here’s an excerpt of Will RogersThe Ropin’ Fool.

This novelty, silent short from 1922 was written and produced by Rogers and directed by Clarence G. Badger. There is a slight plot that provides the frame for Rogers’ roping tricks. It’s when those tricks supersede the plot, that the film takes us to a delightfully surreal place. That’s when his character “Ropes” Reilly shows off his talents in the town square. Rogers looks joyful as he slings his rope around and performs the types of tricks that made him famous at the Follies.

His ropes painted white show up well against his dark horse Dopey, but it’s a cinematic convention that makes those roping scenes amazing–slow-motion photography. We get to see all the details of the tricks that go by too quickly for our eyes normally, and their slowed down speed not only gives us a greater appreciation of how difficult these tricks were, but also makes these moments have a mesmerizing dreamlike quality.

The above clips comes from a video promoting Reelclassicdvd.Com’s edition featuring a musical score by Ben Model. If you’d like to see some more scenes minus any plot, but full of roping Turner Classic Movies has an excerpt of outtakes with narration.


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