The celebration of Smith's birthday is to be an event. Mrs. Smith, with social aspirations, plans big things and taxes her ever-patient husband to the extent of his bank account. The final ... See full summary »


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The celebration of Smith's birthday is to be an event. Mrs. Smith, with social aspirations, plans big things and taxes her ever-patient husband to the extent of his bank account. The final achievement of the silver candelabra, which, from its prominent berth in a house-furnisher's window had dazzled Mrs. Smith's eyes for months, now called for many other rare and costly furnishings, for would not a thirty-dollar candelabra look out of place set on cheap and mended linen, and who would care to arouse the curiosity of the guests with expensive table linen over a rickety dining table. It is finally decided to employ two liveried servants, a French chef, et al., until Smith finally expresses the wish that he had never been born. But, then, Mrs. Smith has social aspirations. The invitations are written and ready to mail. Mrs. Gotrox, Mrs. Richley and others have been invited, and Mrs. Smith's fluttering heart is carried high on the hopes of social ascension. Smith starts out to mail the ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Comedy





Release Date:

6 October 1909 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Released as a split reel along with The Magic Melody (1909). See more »

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User Reviews

Acted throughout in a spirit of pure comedy
7 January 2015 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

The Essanay Company are passing from improvement to improvement, and as we sat and watched the picture under review this week it seemed to use that the influence of a certain famous moving picture studio on East Fourteenth street, New York City, was plainly visible in the work, for the Essanay Company are manifestly leaning towards delicately humorous comedy adroitly played. There are distinct traces of this influence in "A Birthday Affair," which chiefly relies upon refined humor for success. It is an excellent story. The lady determines to give a birthday party and hands her husband the invitations to post. He, good man, on the way to the mailbox meets a friend and so forgets to post the invitations. Well, the preparations for the feast proceed, and just before dinner is to be served, the good man discovers, to his horror, the invitations in his pocket. Now, here we perceive good craftsmanship on the part of the story teller. The husband betakes himself to a post-office and sends a series of bogus telegrams to his wife, which are supposed to come from the disappointing invited guests. The success of the scheme pleases its author and. of course, depresses its victim. She, good woman, in the sanctity of her own dressing room discovers—what? The letters of invitation he has forgotten to post! Naturally, she turns upon her forgetful spouse like an aroused tigress; but he, good man, knowing the sex (as we do), had prepared himself for emergencies with a pretty little present, which pacifies wifey, and so all ends happily. With the calling in of the "halt, the maimed and the blind," the dinner is served after all. In this the Essanay Company are taking up a story of undoubted freshness, humor and sparkle. It is pure comedy, and it was acted throughout in a spirit of pure comedy. The leading woman, if we may call her so, had all the authority of charm, distinction and decision in her work. She took the stage and she held it. She seemed to feel the various emotions of delight, rage, disappointment, agitation and depression— she got it all over the footlights, so to speak. So with the actor who depicted the husband, a first-class humorist if ever there was one. The audience was not slow to show its appreciation of a very fine piece of moving picture work, for they applauded just as heartily as they would have done Maude Adams or John Drew in a Broadway talking piece. As we have before pointed out, there is an unlimited opportunity for moving picture makers to put out pure comedy subjects of a humorous nature; the stories are evidently to be had. and so are the actors and actresses. Pictures like "A Birthday Affair" are distinctly helpful to the art of moving picture making. - The Moving Picture World, October 16, 1909

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