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Mabel's Strange Predicament (1914)

Not Rated | | Short, Comedy | 9 February 1914 (USA)
In a hotel lobby an inebriated Charlie runs into an elegant lady, gets tied hup in her dog's leash, and falls down. He later runs into her in the hotel corridor, locked out of her room. ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Mabel
... Drunk
... Husband
Alice Davenport ... Wife
... Mabel's Admirer
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Storyline

In a hotel lobby an inebriated Charlie runs into an elegant lady, gets tied hup in her dog's leash, and falls down. He later runs into her in the hotel corridor, locked out of her room. They run through various rooms. Mabel ends up in one of an elderly husband where she hides under the bed. Enter the jealous wife and Mabel's lover. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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Short | Comedy

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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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9 February 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pajamas  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Banned by Swedish censors, who found it "brutalising" because of the amorous scenes. See more »

Goofs

After Mabel is discovered under the bed, her dog disappears without explanation and is not seen again. See more »

Connections

Featured in La naissance de Charlot (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of Chaplin's less successful early comedies.
11 August 2001 | by See all my reviews

While it's true that not all of Chaplin's short films are as stunningly brilliant as so many of the films for which he later became famous, it is also true that there is a distinct difference in quality between the early films in which he acted as well as directed, and those in which he was directed as an actor by someone else. Mabel's Strange Predicament is one of the ones in which he only acted; he was directed by Mabel Normand, with whom he did not have the most friendly relationship when the film was made.

The first unusual thing about this film is that it is in French – at least, the film is intertitled in French. Charlie plays the part of a drunken man at a hotel who comes across Mabel in an upstairs hallway, after having locked herself out of her room in her pajamas while chasing after a ball with which she was playing with her dog. When Charlie arrives and the two of them are embarrassed and amused, it seems that this is the strange predicament to which the title refers, but then Charlie chases her down the hall, and she ultimately winds up hiding from his drunken, amorous advances under the bed in a neighbor's room across the hall.

There is a lot of confusing action in Mabel's Strange Predicament, such as the well dressed man who bears a striking resemblance to Marlon Brando (Marlon Brando 1972, not Marlon Brando 2001) who comes into the room and seems exceedingly upset about Mabel and her dog under the bed (wasn't the dog locked in the room across the hall?), as well as the film's conclusion, which consisted of a huge amount of confusion and anger and fighting in the hallway.

Clearly, there is room for plenty of Chaplin's characteristic slapstick comedy with this type of film. The film starts off with him downstairs falling over various chairs and getting into brief brawls with the waiters, and there are also things like the scene where he is chasing Mabel down the hallway and accidentally winds up kissing a man after she evades him. Charlie Chaplin's and Mabel Normand's volatile relationship seems to have played a role in Charlie's character in this film, because he is little more than a drunk who gets out of hand and causes a lot of trouble. He is a mere nuisance on the restaurant level of the hotel, and at the end, his character has the grand exit of staggering off down the hallway, seemingly too drunk to even realize what is going on. In this way, this is a disappointment for Chaplin fans, but it is a curiosity piece to see what results when he works under a different, and far less talented, director.


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