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Troublesome Secretaries (1911)

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Mr. Harding, a fussy old fellow, has a daughter; he also has a private secretary, an attractive young fellow, who falls in love with the daughter and gets his "walking papers." Later he ... See full summary »


Ralph Ince


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Cast overview:
John Bunny ... Harding - The Father
Mabel Normand ... Betty Harding
Ralph Ince ... Ralph - The Successful Suitor
Alec B. Francis
James Morrison


Mr. Harding, a fussy old fellow, has a daughter; he also has a private secretary, an attractive young fellow, who falls in love with the daughter and gets his "walking papers." Later he employs a female secretary, who proves to be an old schoolmate of his daughter. She drives the old gentleman to desperation by using perfumery extravagantly on herself and everything else about his office; so he decides to get a secretary over sixty years of age. In the meantime, Ralph, the first secretary, disguises himself at Betty's suggestion as an old man and makes an application with the rest of the would-be secretaries. The apparent feeble and antique secretary at once starts to work, but his employer has no sooner turned his back when the ancient secretary becomes very spry and active in his attentions to Betty, and proves very strenuous in his embraces and kisses. Mr. Harding is apprehended of Ralph's identity, after pulling his false beard off, and all ends happily. Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Comedy







Release Date:

21 April 1911 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Troublesome Secretaries; or, How Betty Outwitted Her Father See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Mabel Normand's Earliest Surviving Staring Role and John Bunny Too
20 October 2012 | by jayraskin1See all my reviews

This is Mabel Normand's eight film. However except for a couple of films where she plays extras, and D.W. Griffith's melodrama "Saved From Himself" this is, I believe, the earliest film that survives of her in a staring role. It is a great example of her being vivacious, adorable and bubbly in one of her first important comedies.

It is also the 18th film of John Bunny. He is a Charles Laughton lookalike, who is considered one of the first great movie screen comedians. He was around sixty years old when he became a movie star.

This is basically a two practical-joke comedy. Bunny is a businessman father and Mabel plays Betty, his lovable daughter. The first practical joke is Betty getting her girlfriend to be daddy's secretary. The secretary sprays perfume on all his papers and tries to make out with him. The second practical joke has Betty getting her boyfriend to put on a wig and old man's outfit and apply for the job of daddy's secretary.

This movie relies more on situation comedy than slapstick. There are a couple of wonderful shots with Mabel in the deep background and Bunny in the foreground that are quite interesting.

The movie is amusing enough to still bring a chuckle or two and one can easily see why John Bunny was a star at this time and Mabel Normand was about to be.

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