Charlie, competing with his rival's race car, offers Mabel a ride on his motorcycle but drops her in a puddle. He next joins some dubious characters in abduction of his rival just before ... See full summary »
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Charlie is a clumsy waiter in a cheap cabaret, suffering the strict orders from his boss. He'll meet a pretty girl in the park, pretending to be a fancy ambassador, despite the jealousy of her fiancée.

Director: Mabel Normand
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Dan Albert
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Charlie is hanging around in the park, finding problems with a jealous suitor, a man who thinks that Charlie has robbed him a watch, a policeman and even a little boy, all because our friend can't stop snooping.

Directors: Joseph Maddern, Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Minta Durfee, Edgar Kennedy
The Star Boarder II (1914)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A brat's magic lantern show exposes an indiscreet moment between a landlady and her star boarder.

Director: George Nichols
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Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

In a hotel lobby an inebriated Charlie runs into an elegant lady, gets tied hup in her dog's leash, and falls down. He later runs into her in the hotel corridor, locked out of her room. ... See full summary »

Director: Mabel Normand
Stars: Mabel Normand, Charles Chaplin, Chester Conklin
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A silly aristocrat who believes he's been jilted attempts suicide, but is saved from death and reunited with his fiancee.

Directors: George Nichols, Mack Sennett
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edgar Kennedy, Minta Durfee
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Charlie attempts to meet his favorite movie actress at the Keystone Studio, but does not win friends there.

Director: George Nichols
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Peggy Pearce
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Charlie and another man compete in trying to help a young lady cross a muddy street. The rival finds a wooden plank which Charlie takes from him. They fight over an umbrella belonging to ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Lehrman
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Ford Sterling, Chester Conklin
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The Tramp wanders into and disrupts the filming of a go-kart race.

Director: Henry Lehrman
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Short | Comedy
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A very plastered fella follows a pretty woman home, and proceeds to make a nuisance of himself.

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Tango Tangle (1914)
Short | Comedy
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Out of costume, Charlie is a clean-shaven dandy who, somewhat drunk, visits a dance hall. There the wardrobe girl has three rival admirers: the band leader, one of the musicians, and now Charlie.

Director: Mack Sennett
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Short | Comedy
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When a married couple become separated in the park, Charlie takes up with the lady and is beat up when her husband rejoins her. He takes a room in their hotel, and she sleepwalks into his ... See full summary »

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Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Alice Davenport
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Three man will fight for the love of a charming girl. Charlie will play dirty, throwing bricks to his contender, and using a huge hammer to hurt one of them. But a precocious kid will be the fourth suitor in discord.

Director: Mack Sennett
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Mack Sennett
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Villain
...
Mabel
Harry McCoy ...
Mabel's Boyfriend
...
Mabel's Father
...
Reporter / Newsreel Director
Dave Anderson ...
Henchman (as Andy Anderson)
Joe Bordeaux ...
Dubious Character
Mack Swain ...
Spectator at Races
William Hauber ...
Mabel's co-driver
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Storyline

Charlie, competing with his rival's race car, offers Mabel a ride on his motorcycle but drops her in a puddle. He next joins some dubious characters in abduction of his rival just before the race for the Vanderbilt Cup. With her boyfriend locked up in a shed, Mabel takes his place. Charlie does what he can to sabotage the race, even causing Mabel's car to overturn. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

18 April 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Hot Finish  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The motorcycle in the opening scene is a Thor Motorcycle Model M Type IV. See more »

Connections

Featured in Birth of Hollywood: Episode #1.1 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Young Chaplin demonstrates versatility in the role of Snidely Whiplash
17 July 2002 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

Mabel at the Wheel is one of those movies with a behind-the-scenes story that's more interesting than the movie itself. This was Chaplin's tenth comedy for Keystone during his year of apprenticeship, and his first two-reeler. Here he played one of his last out-and-out villain roles (although the feature-length Tillie's Punctured Romance was yet to come), and it also marked one of the last times he would work for a director other than himself. In fact, Chaplin's conflicts with director and co-star Mabel Normand almost got him fired from the studio.

Chaplin hadn't gotten along with his earlier directors, Henry Lehrman and George Nichols, but according to his autobiography having to take direction from a mere "girl" was the last straw. Charlie and Mabel argued bitterly during the making of this film. Chaplin was still a newcomer at Keystone and his colleagues didn't know what to make of him, but everyone loved Mabel. Producer Mack Sennett was on the verge of firing Chaplin when he learned that the newcomer's films were catching on and exhibitors wanted more of them A.S.A.P., so Chaplin was promised the chance to direct himself in return for finishing this movie the way Mabel wanted it.

In light of all this it's appropriate that Charlie and Mabel are at odds during much of Mabel at the Wheel. In the opening sequence Charlie is courting Mabel and offers her a ride on his bike, but she tumbles off into a mud-hole and, soon afterward, Charlie reveals his villainous nature. We notice right away that Chaplin looks odd here, sporting a goat-like beard on his chin and wearing the top hat and frock coat from his very first film appearance, Making a Living. The outfit suits the over-sized, Ford Sterling-style villainy he displays. He's certainly no gentleman. When Mabel strikes him across the face he promptly hits her back, and during the course of the film he sticks a pin in almost everyone's derrière. What a mean guy! The central plot concerns an auto race in which Mabel's beau (Harry McCoy) is scheduled to compete, but wicked Charlie and his henchmen abduct the lad, and Mabel must take the wheel in his place. For all the racing around, brick hurling and finger-biting the film is frankly short on laughs, but there are some points of interest. There's good cinematography and editing in the race sequence, though there aren't really any gags, just lots of frantic activity. Visible in the stands at the race track are several Keystone stalwarts such as Chester Conklin, Edgar Kennedy in a strangely dandified get-up, and a more characteristic Mack Sennett, hawking up spit and doing his usual mindless rube routine. As a performer Sennett was about as subtle as the movies he produced, but you have to give him credit: he knew what people liked. These films were hugely popular in their day. Mack's performance doesn't add much to Mabel at the Wheel, but he probably had to be on hand for the filming just to make sure his stars didn't murder each other.


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