Thursday, August 10, 2017

Movies Every Day 10: Mabel's Strange Predicament (1914)

"I'll stay with my friend until she returns."

Why I'm Watching

  • I've heard a lot of praise for Mabel Normand but have only seen her in Tillie's Punctured Romance (1914) and would like to get to know her better. This is a film she directed.
  • I haven't seen much of Chaplin either. Apparently, this is the first time he wore the Tramp costume in a film. He also appeared in the above mentioned Tillie picture.
  • It's about time I dug into the Early Women Filmmakers set.
  • Time for a short because I'm short on time. 

The Gist

Mabel gets locked out of her room and is caught in the hallway clad only in her nightclothes by a lecherous drunk, who chases her down. She escapes him by hiding out under the bed in another man's room, where she is found by her sweetheart and the man's wife, who assume the worst. Madcap hilarity ensues.

Things I Like

  • Fabulous early 1900s fashions.
  • Wonderful performance by the smiling pooch.

Things I Don't Like

  • When the Sweetheart tosses the dog out of the way from under the bed. 

Interesting Moments

  • The Drunk checks out the Wife's tush and then rests his elbow on it.
  • In pajamas, Mabel plays ball with her doggie in her hotel room, pissing off the Wife across the hall, who complains to the manager.
  • She accidentally bounces the dog's ball out the door and has to sneak out in her jammies to retrieve it, while the prankster pup locks her out. 
  • The Drunk catches Mabel in the hall and is excited by her lingerie so he chases her. He's so wasted that he grabs and kisses a guy in his pajamas by mistake.
  • Mabel escapes into the room across the hall, unnoticed by the Husband, and hides under the bed. 
  • Mabel's Sweetheart can't find her in her room, so he goes to wait for her with his friend, the Husband, in his room. 
  • The dog sneaks in and gives Mabel away, and the jealous Sweetheart has a fit and throttles Mabel.
  • Mabel rips off a fake hair piece from the Wife's head. Now I know how they get those fancy hairdos.

Memorable Moments

Love It or Leave It

Surprised to love it. I've admitted I'm not a huge fan of slapstick comedy, but as I experience more films from this genre, I find that I'm impressed by the amount of action that goes into these shorts, and how impressively orchestrated it all is. I think it's starting to grow on me. Mabel Normand is cute, she's energetic, and she's got a great range of expressions. I can see why she's so well loved. Charlie Chaplin's character straddles the border of funny and detestable. I loved the puppy dog in this film and would have liked to have seen him appear with the two lovebirds at the end, going back to the shot of the three of them smiling together in the beginning. I look forward to seeing more Mabel.

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