Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Gusher - 1913

Country: United States
Language: English
Director: Mack Sennett
Stars: Ford Sterling, Mabel Normand and Charles Inslee
Release Date: 15 December 1913 (USA)
Production Co: Keystone Film Company
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
Genres: Comedy | Short
When Mack Sennett formed Keystone in 1912 he took Mabel Normand with him. The studio was built in Edendale near down-town Los Angeles. "The Gusher" is one of the many, many movies he made at this time.
Mabel has two suitors - an oily con man, whom she mocks in a very funny scene where she is shown twiddling a fake moustache and making her feelings very clearly felt. Even in this early comedy her natural fun comes through. The one she really loves is clumsy yokel Ford Sterling, who is determined to buy an oil well that the con man has for sale. The conman gets a local fellow to pour oil over the property. Ford falls for it and buys it - Mabel and he are to be married. Then the fellow confesses that it was just a scam - there was no oil. Of course, the next minute oil really is discovered and Ford and Mabel are over-joyed. Just as they are about to get married the conman comes back on the scene. He throws a lighted match on the oil and the screen spectacularly erupts in a crimson fire ball. Everyone then gets in on the act - there are all the townsfolk, Mabel in her wedding veil, the Keystone Cops make a brief appearance, Mabel has to fend off the con- man's oily advances and Ford has to stop falling over his own feet.
The film ends on a positive note. The fire is still polluting the skies but Ford has proved he is a man and not a mouse by fighting the conman and protecting Mabel's honour.

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