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Mabel's Strange Predicament (1914)

 -  Short | Comedy  -  9 February 1914 (USA)
5.4
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 668 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 6 critic

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 »

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Title: Mabel's Strange Predicament (1914)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Mabel
...
Drunk
Chester Conklin ...
Husband
Alice Davenport ...
Wife
Harry McCoy ...
Mabel's Admirer
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Storyline

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. They run through various rooms. Mabel ends up in one of an elderly husband where she hides under the bed. Enter the jealous wife and Mabel's lover. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

9 February 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pajamas  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Banned by Swedish censors, who found it "brutalising" because of the amorous scenes. See more »

Goofs

After Mabel is discovered under the bed, her dog disappears without explanation and is not seen again. See more »

Connections

Featured in Charlie Chaplin: The Little Tramp (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Charlie the lecher?
13 June 2004 | by (Calgary, Canada) – See all my reviews

Mabel's Strange Predicament marked several firsts in Charlie Chaplin's career. It was the first major short to feature his Little Tramp character (after a debut in the brief Kid Races at Venice), and it was the first of several films he made co-starring with Mabel Normand, who was the Cameron Diaz/Julia Roberts of her day in terms of comedy films. Reportedly, this was also the first of several Chaplin films that would also feature Fatty Arbuckle, though I'm not sure where he appears in the film (he might be the actor playing Mabel's boyfriend in this film, but I can't be sure).

Chaplin was still developing his character at this early stage (this was only his third or fourth film). The idea of the Tramp being a kind-hearted, heroic character had not yet been established. In this film, he's a drunk, a jerk, and a womanizer (if this were not a Chaplin film, one might even add would-be rapist to this list of "qualities"). In fact, Chaplin's character here is little different than the bad guy he played in his debut, Making a Living.

All this makes for somewhat uncomfortable viewing for those used to the Tramp being a good guy. He certainly has some funny scenes, though most involve him doing little more than falling down and menacing Mabel. There's no pathos to be found here.

He's also very much a secondary character in this film, since at the time, Mabel Normand was the big star. She spends most of the film running around in pajamas and hiding under a bed. In 1914, the sight of Mabel in her full length underwear was probably as shocking as American Pie is today, and indeed the film was banned in Sweden for being too suggestive. But these days, it's laughable in and of itself.

Normand was a fair-to-middling talent who is more famous for what she represented than for her actual on-screen efforts. She was the first woman to become a major movie star in America, and one of the very first to actually direct a film. But if it weren't for her lucky association with Charlie Chaplin in the early months of his film career, odds are very little of her work would have been preserved nearly a century later. Unfortunately, Mabel's Strange Predicament can hardly be included among her's or Chaplin's best efforts.


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