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A Clever Dummy (1917)

 -  Short | Comedy  -  15 July 1917 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 76 users  
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Dummy inventor Samuel Tinker has just developed a new life-sized mechanical dummy. He and his partner, Peter Clay, modeled the dummy after a janitor in their building. While the inventor's ... See full summary »

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(as H. Raymaker) , , 1 more credit »
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Title: A Clever Dummy (1917)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ben Turpin ...
A Romantic Janitor
Chester Conklin ...
A Playful Property Man
...
Patrick Cohen - a Vaudeville Manager
Juanita Hansen ...
A Leading Lady
Claire Anderson ...
Tinker's Daughter - An Object of Affection
James Donnelly ...
Samuel Tinker - Her Inventive Father
James Delano ...
Clarence - His Interested Partner (as James DeLano)
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Storyline

Dummy inventor Samuel Tinker has just developed a new life-sized mechanical dummy. He and his partner, Peter Clay, modeled the dummy after a janitor in their building. While the inventor's daughter is in love and engaged to Clay, the janitor pines for the daughter. A misunderstanding breaks up the partnership, and Tinker forbids his daughter from marrying his now ex-partner. But the daughter hopes a possible lucrative purchase of the dummy from a vaudeville company will be the impetus for her father and Clay to mend their differences, and for them again to be married. The janitor, who sees this rift as an opportunity, hatches his own plan to be near the one he loves, the plan which involves him taking the place of the dummy. Not wanting to blow his cover, the janitor keeps on masquerading as the dummy even after the sale to the vaudeville company. A life-like dummy with a mind of his own on the loose has its own consequences. Written by Huggo

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Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

15 July 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Automatic Figure  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
An excellent early Turpin film
29 April 2008 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is one of Ben Turpin's earlier silents for Keystone (Sennett Studios). While there is some of the typical material from a Keystone comedy (including a short but exciting obligatory chase at the end), the rest of the movie is very, very unusual to say the least! For some odd reason, an inventor has made an automaton that is modeled after Ben. While the audience can tell which is which, the folks in this little short are a bit dim and can't seem to tell that later when the dummy is supposed to perform on stage, it's actually Ben taking its place. I was particularly impressed by Turpin's physicality and ability to do some complicated scenes and I was also impressed that this was a pretty funny short for 1917. While not great, it is among the better shorts from that period.

By the way, look for Chester Conklin (a perennial in these films) with his trademark mustache as well as a young Wallace Beery as the owner of the theater.


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