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Mabel at the Wheel (1914)

Charlie, competing with his rival's race car, offers Mabel a ride on his motorcycle but drops her in a puddle. He next joins some dubious characters in abduction of his rival just before ... See full summary »

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Complete credited cast:
Charles Chaplin ... Villain
Mabel Normand ... Mabel
Harry McCoy ... Mabel's Boyfriend
Chester Conklin ... Mabel's Father
Mack Sennett ... Reporter / Newsreel Director
Dave Anderson Dave Anderson ... Henchman (as Andy Anderson)
Joe Bordeaux Joe Bordeaux ... Dubious Character
Mack Swain ... Spectator at Races
William Hauber William Hauber ... Mabel's co-driver


Charlie, competing with his rival's race car, offers Mabel a ride on his motorcycle but drops her in a puddle. He next joins some dubious characters in abduction of his rival just before the race for the Vanderbilt Cup. With her boyfriend locked up in a shed, Mabel takes his place. Charlie does what he can to sabotage the race, even causing Mabel's car to overturn. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

18 April 1914 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Hot Finish See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Monica, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Keystone Film Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The motorcycle in the opening scene is a Thor Motorcycle Model M Type IV. See more »


In the hilarious scene where Mabel gets dropped in the mud puddle, and where she splashes around getting out/up, she is clearly soaked. Immediately after, when Harry McCoy rolls up in the race car, Mabel runs up to him, and despite some splashes on her dress, she is more or less dry. See more »


Featured in The Funniest Man in the World (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

Mabel vs Charlie Part 2
7 November 2016 | by ducatic-82290See all my reviews

The background to this movie is interesting. Mabel and Charlie had not appeared together since Mabel's Strange Predicament. Sennett brought the petulant pair together again in this film after 2 months, but when Charlie arrived for the shoot he was enraged to find Mabel behind the camera. Charlie felt women were best kept in the kitchen - he later had his many young and foolish wives locked up at home. While Mabel wanted to follow a script set by Mack Sennett, Charlie thought the new film needed gagging up. As the proposed gags would boost Chaplin's standing, Mabel refused to entertain them. Charlie immediately went on strike. On hearing this Sennett flew into a rage, storming into Charlie's dressing room shouting 'You'll do as you're told or get out!' However, the balance of power at Keystone was changing. The Englishman was a rising star, and his popularity could eventually equal or eclipse that of the lovely Mabel. Sennett had to keep the two together, or risk becoming the knucklehead who sacked the world's greatest comedian. He decided the two should bury the hatchet, and he directed the film himself (Sennett/Chaplin autobiographies).

Mabel was all sweetness after the furore, although she was unsure about riding pillion with Charlie on the Keystone motorbike – a type of machine he claimed to have ridden before. According to Mabel, the crazy Briton crashed the bike into a ditch before they'd gone twenty yards. He'd lied! Once he'd mastered the technique, all was set for a mad ride along a muddy track, where the hapless Mabel would be dumped in a mud pool. This was the cue for the usual Keystone battle of bricks between Mabel plus boyfriend and Charlie. Interesting how there are always some handy bricks lying around to be thrown by inmates of Sennett's 'University of Nonsense'. Charlie becomes a Ford Sterling- type villain for this film, and initiates various dastardly deeds, such as sticking a pin into Mabel's leg, thumping her in the face, and tying her boyfriend up. Without wishing to give the whole plot away, Mabel ends up taking over her boyfriend's racing car drive. The whole film is clearly based around a famous race filmed in Santa Monica, where a front wheel breaks off a car at Dead Man's Curve, causing it to overturn in spectacular fashion. Mabel openly enjoys the adulation she receives from the spectators and team at the conclusion of the race. Oh, how the cast adored their Keystone Girl!

Things to Note: [1] Charlie's motorbike is a chain drive 1912 Thor IV model. [2] The No. 4 racing car could be Sennett's own Stutz. [3] It is amusing to see the startled old fellow in shirtsleeves and braces,standing in his garden watching Charlie restart his motorbike – he thinks the Hell's Angels are in town. [4] Many roads around Hollywood in those days were seemingly rutted, muddy tracks. [5] When Mabel and Charlie have a fight, a seated spectator looks bemused,then positively scared.[ 6] The entire Keystone company appears to be in this film. [7] The race team's toolkit consists of one spanner, a file, a hand drill, and a bucket. High-tech that. [8] Mabel thinks race preparation comprises taking out a compact and powdering her nose. [9] The mechanic is in the race car to pump fuel and oil (furiously). [10] When the actual race car crashes, the mechanic is thrown out onto his feet. In the faked keystone crash scene the mechanic ends up under the vehicle.[11] There are plenty enough gags for Charlie in the film, and the lack of the standing on the hose gag (which caused the two stars to fall out) does not detract from the film. [12] Charlie reverts to a type of Ford Sterling costume for this film. Could it be that Mabel refused to work with the Tramp, as she feared being upstaged by the scruffy character? She might also have been fearful of the filthy Tramp outfit (Mrs Arbuckle claimed that Mabel used to buy Charlie new clothing, as he never washed his attire).

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