Cruel, Cruel Love (1914)

Genres - Comedy  |   Run Time - 16 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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In his eighth film for Keystone Charlie Chaplin, in frock coat and bushy mustache, is cast in the role of a melodramatic lover who attempts suicide over his lost love. The film is a farce, a parody of the overacted melodramas of the day. Mr. Dovey (Chaplin) is first seen on his knees proposing in the drawing room of his lady (Minta Durfee). The couple are overheard and mocked by the lady's maid, whose laughter causes Minta to eject her from the house. To get back at her boss, she arranges a hoax with the gardener. She feigns injury and her cries bring the departing Dovey to her aid. When Minta sees her maid flirting with Dovey, she rejects him in a jealous rage. Back at home the despondent Dovey drinks what he thinks is poison; only his highly amused butler knows it was just water. Waiting for the poison to take effect, Dovey has horrifying visions of his eternal damnation. Meanwhile, Minta has learned of her maid's deception and has sent the gardener to Dovey with a letter of apology. "It's too late. I've been poisoned," says Dovey and the gardener goes back to retrieve Minta to be at her dying man's side. Dovey now summons doctors to save him, drinking all the milk he can with evident distaste. When the physicians arrive, the butler lets them in on the joke and they play along too, jokingly examining him. Minta, having raced to her man's home, learns of the hoax and tells Dovey he's going to live. First relieved, then enraged, he attacks all the pranksters and finally embraces his lady, removing from his fingers a ball of hair he had pulled from his head and blowing it away.

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Keywords

deception, poison, prank, revenge, suicide-attempt