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Mabel's Married Life (1914)

Accosted by a masher in the park and unable to motivate husband Charlie into taking action, Mabel gets him a boxing mannequin to sharpen his fighting skills.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Mabel's Husband
...
Mabel
Mack Swain ...
Wellington, a Ladykiller
Eva Nelson ...
Wellington's Wife
Hank Mann ...
Tough in Bar
Charles Murray ...
Man in Bar
Harry McCoy ...
Man in Bar
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Storyline

Mabel goes home after being humiliated by a masher whom her wimpy husband won't fight. The husband goes off to a bar and gets drunk. She buys a boxing dummy hoping it will inspire her husband, but when he returns he gets in a fight with it, taking it to be the ladykiller. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

20 June 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Squarehead  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Connections

Featured in Silent Clowns: Charlie Chaplin (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Charlie the ineffective husband.
26 February 2008 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

In one of the most effective and thorough characterizations in any of Chaplin's films up until that time, in Mabel's Married Life Charlie plays Mabel's husband, an feeble drunk incapable of deflecting the oafish advances of a huge man in the park, who hits on Charlie's wife right in front of him. Starting these films in the park was one of Chaplin's favorite things to do back in the earliest days of his career, but here he starts his film there and then takes us into the mind of one of the characters, rather than just having some on screen slapstick goofiness.

Soon after the park incident, Charlie goes to a bar and is teased by the other patrons as he slowly gets drunk. His wife, meanwhile, is at home fashioning a blow-up doll to resemble the man in the park, thus providing a scenario from which her drunken husband can emerge her hero.

There have been some criticisms that the scene involving the dummy wasn't fleshed out and made into the effective scene that it could have been, but I have to disagree. It is very stereotypical Chaplin comedy that comes out of the scene, but I can't think of any reason to expect anything different. What we do get is a brief but effective look at the desperation of a woman who is married to someone who wants to but is unable to protect her from undesirables, and her efforts to improve her husband's confidence. It doesn't seem to work too well, but I have a feeling that the film's original audiences were more than pleased.

This film, by the way, is notable as being the first that Chaplin was allowed to write and direct on his own, and as compared to the rest of his films from this time, it is clear that he immediately began to prove his talent.

Oh, and one more thing - you may notice that the film has French intertitles. I'm not sure why this is, but those of you lucky (and smart) enough to own a Mac, you can just type them into the translator on your Dashboard and have it translated into your language of choice...


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