This film, previously thought to be lost, was recently discovered in New Zealand. This makes the film (as of this writing, 2015) the oldest surviving film directed by and starring Mabel Normand. See more »
This film was lost and only recently found in New Zealand and restored in 2010. I watched it on the National Film Preservation Foundation's website.
The first half of the film looks good. Unfortunately, the second half has many badly deteriorated shots.
There are a few good reasons for cinephiles to watch this. First it is the earliest example of Mabel directing a film that we have (actually her second film). Second, she looks absolutely gorgeous here. There are a couple of medium-close shots of her, quite unusual for 1914. It is easy to see why Sennett and others would fall in love with her.
This film was released two weeks before Chaplin's first film "Kid Auto Races." It seems quite possible that Chaplin was watching her make this film when he first arrived at Keystone. They starred together in their first film, "Mable's Strange Predicament" just six weeks after this. There is a "Tramp" in the film and the film style and motifs does bare a resemblance to a number of Chaplin's early films.
Apparently Edgar Kennedy is in the film, but I did not spot him. Hank Mann, who played the boxer in the brilliant boxing scene in Chaplin's "City Lights" (Chaplin,1931) is one of two "cut-ups" who fight with Mabel and her boyfriend.
The second part of the film with Mabel's mother and her sheriff boyfriend being trapped in a closet is a little weird. Bodies are sent tripping and flying against and over each other at a frantic pace and a Western version of the Keystone Cops appear.
While not anything particularly great, there are a few chuckles still here for Mabel Norman fans.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?