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A Life in the Balance (1913)

The landlord of poor tenements rents rooms to three Italians. Not being impressed with their looks he spies upon them and discovers that they are making bombs. Securing a pistol he rushes ... See full summary »

Director:

Mack Sennett
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Cast

Cast overview:
Ford Sterling ... The Landlord
Dot Farley ... The Landlord's Wife
Raymond Hatton ... Lead Arsonist
Laura Oakley ... Neighbor
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Storyline

The landlord of poor tenements rents rooms to three Italians. Not being impressed with their looks he spies upon them and discovers that they are making bombs. Securing a pistol he rushes into the room and chases them out. He then runs to the police station, but is kicked out by the cops who resent leaving their game of pinochle interfered with. The revengeful Italians enter the landlord's home while his wife has gone to the store and place their baby in a basket, which they attach to the end of a long spring, taken from an exerciser, and fasten the other end of the spring under the window so that when the window is raised it will permit the basket to fall four stories. The landlord is waylaid and tied to a fence, his gloating captors telling him of what they have done. He is in agony and tugs at his bonds, and manages to get the rope in his mouth, which he vainly tries to chew in two. His wife returns home and missing the baby, thinks he has taken it out. Alternate flashes are shown ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 April 1913 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Baby See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Keystone Film Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film survives in its 1923 re-issue version from Tri-State Pictures and was re-titled "Crashing Through". Keystone films were re-released by many companies through the late 1920s, often re-titled and with different intertitles. See more »

Quotes

The Landlord: I'm leary of those birds.
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User Reviews

Fine Comedy from Sennett
6 September 2012 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

A Life in the Balance (1913)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

This 1913 Mack Sennett short was made available in its 1923 re-issue version, which went under the title CRASHING TROUGH. In the film, Ford Sterling plays a desperate landlord who rents a room to three men. He's happy to get the money but then he starts to get a bad feeling and soon he does something to them, which causes them to seek revenge by kidnapping his son in order to play a prank. Ones sense of humor must have been pretty wild in 1913 if Sennett thought he could brings laughs out of a kidnapping. I'm not sure what was changed or altered in this 1923 re-issue so it's really not fair to really judge the 1913 version. From what I saw it was actually a fairly funny picture with Sterling once again delivering a fast and funny performance as the maniac who finds himself out of control. Dot Farley plays his wife who we see in a couple scenes and she's good as well. The actual kidnapping isn't played too serious and it does lead to a rather amusing finale.


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