Mabel’s Strange Predicament (1914)

by popegrutch

Mabel's Strange Predicament

This early Chaplin movie has a lot more of the elements we associate with him than the ones I’ve been reviewing in recent days. He’s in his classic “Little Tramp” getup, although it seems to me that his mustache is a bit larger on his lip than it would be in years to come. He’s doing a “funny drunk” bit, with pratfalls and slapstick being the source of most of the humor, and he’s chasing the ladies, in this case with little success. Mabel Normand, who got “top billing” (in the sense that her name is in the title), is one of the girls he chases, and she winds up hiding under the bed of a hotel neighbor, leading to various romantic complications with Charlie, the neighbor’s wife, and her boyfriend. The husband and wife are Alice Davenport and Chester Conklin, who each had small roles in “Making a Living” and Wikipedia identifies one of the bellboys as Al St. John, but this may be as controversial as in the case of “Mabel’s Blunder,” so I won’t say for sure. While the rest of the cast are funny, it’s clear from this movie that Chaplin was the up-and-comer on the Keystone lot at the time.

Director: Mabel Normand

Camera: Enrique Juan Vallejo and Frank D. Williams

Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Alice Davneport, Chester Conklin

Run Time: 12 Min

You can watch it for free here or here.