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Mabel's Strange Predicament (1914)

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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Cast

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Mabel
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Alice Davenport ...
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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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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

 
Chaplin vs Mabel vs Lehrman
29 October 2016 | by See all my reviews

A great film to watch – and it is the first movie in which Chaplin plays the Tramp. What did the cast think of it? They were absolutely stunned at Charlie's actions on set. Charlie's initial lobby scene used 75 feet of film, an unbelievable occurrence at Keystone, and title-lady Mabel barely appears in the shot! If you're wondering what Mabel's saying in the lobby, she's probably cursing Charlie, who goes on to steal the entire scene from 'Our Cutest Trick' (as Sennett called her).

From this time onward Chaplin began to build his super- star status, and within three months he was the world's most loved comedy character. We can see that the early Tramp was very mean and cruel - he'd kick women in the derriere or stomach, punch them in the face, and steal sweets from babies. Keystone's remit after all was to offend polite society. The Tramp with pathos only began his genesis many months later, due to diligent reworking by the 'Englisher' (probably with help from a slapstick-weary Mabel).

In the film Mabel gets her chance to reign in the upstairs part of the hotel, which becomes the Queen Bee's kingdom. Here she runs rampant and gets into all kinds of scrapes over a dog, a ball and a bed. Eventually, Charlie invades the Kingdom, virtually molests pajama- clad Mabel and kicks, slugs and otherwise abuses everyone on that landing. Then there is the almost inevitable Keystone happy ending.

There are several interesting features in the film. The 'Fake Frenchman', Pathe Lehrman, appears in this film as an extra! After explosive arguments with Chaplin, his directorship of the film was revoked by Sennett, who took on the job himself. Lehrman later tried to have Chaplin's lobby scene cut, but failed. A cute touch occurs in some of the longer shots where Mabel's sweet face is just seen peering out from under a bed where she's hiding.

Mabel's dog is part of the action. Why is prim and proper Alice Davenport so infuriated at the sight of Mabel entering her room with a canine companion? Perhaps she knows the fancily-dressed maiden is going to frolic with the mutt in her pajamas.

This film seems to be the only one in which Mabel and Charlie really battle to outdo each other - Lehrman isn't even in the running. According to Minta Arbuckle (1970s interview), our little Mabel came to hate the unwashed and conceited Charlie. Had the Fake Frenchman been whispering in her ear? He loved her, you know. However at some point later, the Queen Bee and the coming Emperor of Comedy (Sennett was the King) appear to have called a truce and worked more harmoniously together.

Note the flowery bed cover that Mabel tries to hide her embarrassment with. It appears 10 days later on a washing line in Chaplin's 'A Thief Catcher'.


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