Mabel's Dramatic Career

Mack Sennett stars as a bumpkin who courts, then quickly dumps, his klutzy housemaid, played by Mabel Normand. The maid later finds success on screen - in Keystone comedies! Sennett assembled a fine cast: Mabel's comic mug (above) and nicely timed pratfalls are enough to carry the comedy by itself, but she gets ample help from Ford Sterling's wacky comic moves. The Keystone-within-a-Keystone is a clever touch that's more realistic than the simlar scene in `The False Max Linder`. Unfortunately, Sennett's performance seems amateurishly overacted and drags the pace down. Thankfully, Sennett didn't star in many more of his comedies after this.

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The False Max Linder (Un idiot qui se croit Max Linder)

Tries, but fails, to be an imitation Max. Samples "Max Pedicure". Ironic movie posters (for actual movies) suggest a possible subtext of the film. One is titled "Le duel de Max (Max and His Rival)" from 1913. When the imposter takes off the current poster, a poster is revealed for another Pathé Frères film: "La rançon de Rigadin (1914)" starring Charles Prince, whose "Rigadin" character was the only film comic that rivalled Max in popularity (and sometimes both used the same scenario: e.g., The Lady Doctor, and Courting Two Lovers). Was this film a sly putdown in a 1914 hiphop-style battle?

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