Dodging a Million (1918)

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Mabel Normand shuns slapstick in favor of straight comedy in her first feature for producer Samuel Goldwyn. Arabella Flynn (Normand) holds a lowly position at a modiste's shop and one day, after substituting for a model, decides to keep the fancy clothes on and spend her whole eight dollar salary at a fancy restaurant. Back at the cheap boarding house where she owes two weeks' back rent, she receives three trunks and a check for eight hundred dollars -- the beginning of a 94 million dollar inheritance from her aunt. So she checks into New York's fanciest hotel and proceeds to buy all the finery she can. She also becomes involved with Jack Forsythe (Tom Moore), the son of a rich corset maker. The only problem is that she is constantly shadowed by a certain Signor Rodrigues (J. Herbert Frank), who is following mysterious instructions from her late aunt. Then Arabella finds herself in big trouble when the law firm discovers they made a mistake in giving her the eight hundred dollar check. Everyone assumes that this means she's penniless. She is surrounded by angry creditors and Jack thinks she's an adventuress. But then the truth comes out -- the check was meant for her after all, but the amount should have been eighty thousand dollars! With Signor Rodrigues' help, Arabella and Jack are happily reunited. While Normand did well in this, and many other, Goldwyn pictures her fans missed her slapstick antics. Quite a few features after this one were hyped (usually falsely) as a return to the spirit of Mabel's Keystone days.