Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mabel's Blunder (USA,1914)

We can see in this film a typical element of early comedies: Misunderstandings. The plot is far less frantic than usual films by Keystone studios and provides modern-day audiences with a glimpse on how a office looked like in 1910s. Harry, the boss’ son, is engaged to Mabel but his father is interested in Mabel too. 
One day, Mabel leaves the office and another woman arrives right afterwards. The boss’ son was there and hugs the woman affectionally. Mabel sees it and gets really heartbroken. Mabel returns to the office to try to find out what was going on and sees what she thought was a kiss.
Mabel’s brother also arrives at the office and she exchange clothes with her brother, as part of her scheme and she drives her suitor and the woman to a party. Meanwhile, the boss arrives at the office while Mabel’s brother was still there. The boss mistakes him for Mabel and they both drive out of the office. While the boss and Mabel’s brother are in the car, the boss tries to get closer to Mabel and right afterwards it is shown that they both are in the same party where Mabel, the boss’ son and the other woman are.
The boss’ son and the other woman have an argument due to jealousy, she goes to the backyard and ends up meeting Mabel. The boss’ son arrives and gets very angry when he saw what he thought was Mabel’s brother taking liberties with the woman and they start fighting (the boss’ son and Mabel’s brother, who was actually Mabel in disguise). But he eventually found out he was actually fighting with Mabel. 
Finally, a general fighting takes place at the party, involving everyone else and the films ends with the boss’ son introducing the other woman to Mabel, saying she is his sister. Mabel realizes her mistake and faints in a rather stagy way.
This film is the remarkable distinction of having been directed by Mabel Normand herself, who was then in her early 20s. Not very common to have a female director back then, even tough that paradigm was quickly changing. 

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