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Bath Tub Perils (1916)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Fred Mace ...
The Hotel Owner
Dale Fuller ...
The Hotel Owner's Wife
Hugh Fay ...
The Newlywed Bridegroom
Anna Luther ...
The Newlywed Bride (first part)
Claire Anderson ...
The Newlywed Bride (second part)
Frank Alexander ...
The Porter
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Plot Keywords:

two reeler | bathtub | murphy bed

Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

14 May 1916 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Follow that bathtub!
8 August 2008 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

'Bath Tub Perils' is hilarious, and I recommend it to any students of silent-film comedy as a good example of a 'generic' Keystone. The star of the film is Fred Mace, whom modern audiences are unlikely to recognise (he died young), and all the lesser actors are obscure ... so we're able to perceive this short comedy as a Keystone rather than as (for instance) a Chaplin or Arbuckle movie.

Contrary to legend, only a minority of Keystone comedies climaxed in a chase. Most of them degenerated into mere chaos ... and, again, this movie is an excellent example. Also, although many Keystones had exterior sequences, the studio's comedies were usually ground out quickly on interior sets; here again, 'Bath Tub Perils' qualifies.

Mace (looking surprisingly like Kelsey Grammar here) portrays a henpecked hotelier; Dale Fuller is his termagant wife. An attractive couple (Hugh Fay and the much younger Anna Luther) obtain a room for the night. Mace attempts to flirt with Anna but she's not having any; Mace's wife catches him at it and of course she disapproves. To make sure Mace doesn't go roaming tonight, she sends him to bed and then confiscates his clothing.

Through the usual Keystone laws of physics, Mace ends up (in his pyjamas) inside a Murphy bed in Anna's room, where her husband finds him. This leads to a chase, though not a climactic one. Mace hides in a steamer trunk. Any trunk big enough to hold Fred Mace must be somewhat enormous, so of course a tiny little porter (Bobby Dunn) is sent to bring the trunk to Anna's room. Once again, her husband finds her with the pyjama-clad Mace! All very obvious, yet hilarious.

There's also some mayhem involving a leak in the plumbing and a leak in the gas-fittings, and of course the pipes get switched. Turn on the faucets and get a faceful of gas, turn up the gas-jets and get squirted. Meanwhile, elderly Frank Hayes looks as if he'd blow away in a stiff gust of wind.

For those who absolutely insist on a climactic chase: we sort of get one here, as the flood and explosion send Anna's bathtub out into the open sea with Anna inside, and the Keystone cops and fire brigade go in lukewarm pursuit.

'Bath Tub Perils' is crude but hilarious; I'll rate it 9 out of 10. If not for his untimely death, Fred Mace might have become one of the greatest comedians of the silent era.


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