Mabel's Busy Day (1914)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Slapstick  |   Run Time - 15 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Synopsis by Phil Posner

Charlie Chaplin's 18th film for Keystone was likely co-written and co-directed by co-star Mabel Normand. It was shot entirely on location at an automobile racetrack during a racing event. Mabel plays a hot dog vendor who sneaks in to the track by bribing the cop who guards the gate. As soon as she sets up shop she's accosted by various male customers who give her a hard time by refusing to pay, or returning a hot dog when she has no change. Chaplin isn't dressed in his usual Tramp outfit, but as a race track tout in a frock coat with a flower in his lapel. He is clearly broke -- he sneaks into the stadium by beating up a cop and crashing past a ticket taker and, finding one of Mabel's hot dogs on the ground, first tries to light it from the stub of his cigar, and then eats it hungrily. Charlie rescues Mabel from a particularly aggressive customer but then steals her tray and tries to sell the hot dogs himself. The other racetrack fans give him a hard time as well, jostling him about and knocking off his hat. Meanwhile, Mabel has fetched a cop who the agile Chaplin bests in a fight. Defeated, Mabel bursts into tears and Charlie, touched by her emotions, decides he feels sorry for her and walks off with her arm in arm, presumably to protect her from further harassment.



customer, hot-dog-stand, police-officer, racetrack, vendor