The Sex Life of the Polyp

1928

Comedy / Short

73
IMDb Rating 5.4 10 227

Synopsis


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June 15, 2020

Cast

720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
102.32 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
11 min
P/S N/A / N/A
190.01 MB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
11 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by wmorrow59 8 / 10 / 10

Droll comedy with an eye-catching title

The great humorist Robert Benchley wrote hundreds of magazine pieces and acted in dozens of short films and features, but for my money this early effort is one of his best. Although it's technically primitive I consider The Sex Life of the Polyp one of his funniest short comedies. In this, only his second movie appearance, Benchley assumes the role that would become his signature: the smug lecturer who confidently spouts nonsense, liberally dispensing misinformation to his audience, in this case a ladies' club. The prosperous looking ladies wear large hats, and resemble the matrons in Helen Hokinson's famous New Yorker cartoons. "Doctor" Benchley, who sports a professorial swallowtail coat, initially seems a bit chagrined to be discussing such intimate matters before this well-bred crowd; after all, the subject at hand is somewhat naughtier than last week's topic "Emotional Crises in Sponge Life." But soon our speaker hits his stride and is rattling off all sorts of information you won't find in any encyclopedia . . . or anywhere else. His discourse on sexual reproduction among polyps is accompanied by strange animated slides depicting them as hairy, pulsating little beasts. Among the beasts on display is Dr. Benchley's own polyp, Mary. Movie buffs familiar with our lecturer's comic turns in such features of the '40s as I Married a Witch and The Sky's the Limit may not even recognize him here. The Benchley of later years was a portly gent with thinning hair, but when this film was made he was still trim, youthful and bright-eyed -- and, in the opinion of my wife, "really cute." Despite his inexperience as a movie actor his performance is quite proficient. According to biographers Benchley dismissed his acting skills in private life, but his delivery here is superb, perfectly capturing the pomposity of the self-important professor, as well as a touch of semi-feigned, coy embarrassment over the risqué elements in his presentation. I don't care what he told his friends, the guy was an accomplished comedian! He makes it look easy, which is something only the most skilled professionals can do.

Reviewed by ackstasis 9 / 10 / 10

"The male suddenly gave up the whole thing as a bad job, and turned into a female"

Robert Benchley was an American humourist whose work extended across various mediums, though he is most remembered today for his short-subject comedic shorts, particularly the "How To..." series that he produced with MGM between 1935 and 1939. He has a understated, droll style of comedy – few of his jokes actually aim to get big laughs, and most of the humour is to be found in words rather than in physical slapstick routines. In 1927, Hollywood embraced the arrival of synchronised sound, a technical innovation that proved perfect for Benchley's kind of entertainment. His first appearance on film was in 'The Treasurer's Report (1928).' The same year, 'The Sex Life of the Polyp (1928)' was released, a subtle and likable little comedy with an eye-catching title. As in many of his short films, Benchley plays a smug lecturer who spouts rather ridiculous nonsense to a rapt audience, in this case a ladies' club, whose members giggle nervously whenever Benchley's analogies become a little too obvious for comfort. I only laughed aloud one or two times watching 'The Sex Life of the Polyp,' but I had a smile on my face the whole time. The utter confidence with which Benchley recites gibberish is constantly amusing, and the actor responds well to the unfamiliar medium of sound-synchronised film (despite the poor audio quality of the print, which often made the dialogue difficult to discern). To explain the sex life of polyps, Benchley introduces a female test subject he dubs Mary, represented on the projector screen as a shivering and hairy mass. He then adds the male, who responds excitedly to the female presence, but doesn't notice when Mary is replaced by a button, and then a crumb of corn-bread. Finally, frustrated at the inactivity of his partner, the male polyp gives up and transforms into a female. Benchley then asserts that his research interests have now turned towards "some animal which takes its sex life a little more seriously." I think I can guess which animal he has in mind.

Reviewed by JerryZ111 9 / 10 / 10

Still funny after all these years

Robert Benchley not only was a great humorist (in my opinion, the funniest writer who ever lived), he also was a talented film comedian and a good actor as well. He was naturally funny, both in person and in whatever medium (print, film, stage, radio, public speaking) he worked. By all accounts, he also was a warm and wonderful human being. "The Sex Life of the Polyp," made in 1928, was only the second all-talking commercial motion picture, following "The Treasurer's Report," also a 1928 Benchley short subject. Unlike "The Treasurer's Report," which is amusing and invaluable historically but not a classic, "The Sex Life of the Polyp" still holds up as a genuinely funny film. This is Benchley at his best; in fact, he is just as good here as he was in "How to Sleep," a short subject that won him an Academy Award in 1935. The other thing that is notable about "Sex" is the special effects (or what passed for them in 1928). Whereas "The Treasurer's Report" is simply a filmed speech, "Sex" employs more complicated techniques. It's still pretty basic, but it works better than its predecessor. This is not a knock on "The Treasurer's Report," which Benchley first delivered as a stage monologue in 1922 and became a staple of his career; it's just that "The Sex Life of the Polyp" is a better piece of film-making. And it's still hilarious, all these years later.

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