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Balked at the Altar (1908)

 -  Short | Comedy  -  25 August 1908 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 55 users  
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Artemisia Sophia Stebbins was a lovelorn maiden who had delved deep into the mysteries of "Three Weeks," as well as being conversant with the teachings of Laura Jean Libby. Her one hobby ... See full summary »



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Title: Balked at the Altar (1908)

Balked at the Altar (1908) on IMDb 5.6/10

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Credited cast:
Mabel Stoughton ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Linda Arvidson
George Gebhardt
Arthur V. Johnson
Harry Solter


Artemisia Sophia Stebbins was a lovelorn maiden who had delved deep into the mysteries of "Three Weeks," as well as being conversant with the teachings of Laura Jean Libby. Her one hobby was to possess a hubby. Many there were whom she tried to hook, but in vain, for truth to say. Arte was of pulchritude a bit shy. She had the complexion of pale rhubarb and a figure like a wheat sack. Still her motto was "nil desperandum," and she was ever hopeful. One thing in her favor, her father. Obediah Stebbins, avowed his aid. Of the visitors who called at the Stebbins' domicile, Hezekiah Horubeak seemed the most probable to corral, so Artemisia set to work. Hez at first was a trifle recalcitrant, but was soon subdued by Obediah's gun, which we must admit possessed egregious powers of persuasion. The day for the wedding was set, and to the village church there flocked the natives to witness this momentous affair. All was progressing serenely until the all-important question was put to Hezekiah,... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Comedy





Release Date:

25 August 1908 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

I would have to agree with boblipton on this one...
30 March 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

In the review for "Balked at the Alter", boblipton from New York wrote that although it's credited as a D.W. Griffith film, it appears to actually be a Mack Sennett short. I agree completely, as the film bears nothing of the style of Griffith and sure looks a lot like one of Sennett's later Keystone films. Before he started Keystone Studio, Mack Sennett was an actor and assistant director with Biograph and was a favorite of Griffith--and he got his directorial start because of Griffith. So, logically speaking, this is probably a Sennett film or at least one in which Sennett had a hand in directing it or setting up the gags.

The film could have used some intertitle cards, though at the time they were just coming into vogue. Because there are no cards to explain the action, what is occurring is something a little vague. A man-crazy woman keeps hitting on practically every man that comes her way. Finally, her family (at least you assume it's them) decide to get her a man by picking some poor sucker and forcing him at gun-point to marry her! However, at the alter, he takes flight and much of the film is spent showing the wedding party chasing the poor guy.

I wouldn't give the film a higher score than 6 because it is essentially a one-gag film and it was handled only moderately well (I think they could have milked more laughs out of the situation--and probably would have if Sennett had made this a few years later). Also, as I often have seen in some of Griffith's films (which makes me think this might be a hybrid Griffith/Sennett movie), the black man in the picture is just some white guy painted up to look black (I really do think Griffith hated blacks and preferred employing fake blacks instead of the real thing).

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