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TILLIES PUNCTURED ROMANCE (director/writer: Mack Sennett; screenwriter: Hampton Del Ruth/Craig Hutchinson/based on the play Tillie’s Nightmare by Edgar Smith and A. Baldwin Sloane; cinematographer: Hans F. Koenekamp/Frank D. Williams; music: organ score by John Muri; cast: Charles Chaplin (Charlie, City Slicker), Marie Dressler (Tillie Banks, Country Girl), Mabel Normand (Mabel, Charlie’s Girl Friend), Mack Swain (John Banks, Tillie’s Father), Charles Bennett (Douglas Banks, Tillie’s Millionaire Uncle/Mortgage Holder/Maitre D’), Chester Conklin (Mr. Whoozis, Friend of Douglas Banks), Charlie Murray (Detective), the Keystone Kops; Runtime: 73; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Mack Sennett; Kino Video; 1914-Silent)
“Museum piece slapstick comedy with the Keystone Kops and Charlie Chaplin that spoofs a gold-digger.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Mack Sennett (“Girl Crazy”/”Speed”/”The Timid Young Man”) directs this museum piece slapstick comedy with the Keystone Kops and Charlie Chaplin that spoofs a gold-digger. It’s the first feature-length comedy film ever made, and was made as a vehicle for the star, Marie Dressler, who achieved fame on the musical comedy Broadway stage. It was based on the play Tillie’s Nightmare by Edgar Smith and A. Baldwin Sloane, and retooled for the screen by Hampton Del Ruth and Craig Hutchinson. This early film comes when the industry was only two years old. It’s only a slight comedy, but gives the viewer an idea of what was deemed funny back then.

Marie Dressler stars as Tillie Banks, the ungainly farm girl that city slicker con man Charlie Chaplin woos on his trek to the country to find some easy money. He gets Tillie to take her father’s farm money savings to the city, where at a dancehall Charlie meets his crime partner city girlfriend Mabel (Mabel Normand) and they steal her dough while the tipsy Tillie dances up a storm. When arrested for not paying her tab, the matron gets wind that her uncle is Douglas Banks (Charles Bennett), the millionaire, and she’s released. Tillie gets a waitress job in town to pay back her dad, and when Charlie and Mabel dine there she chases Charlie out. When Charlie reads in the papers her uncle is missing on a mountain climbing expedition and presumed dead and that Tillie will inherit three million dollars, he dumps Mabel and woos Tillie again. They quickly marry, but the uncle turns up alive. At a society party where the guests do the tango, Mabel wants revenge on Charlie and gets a job as a maid at Charlie and Tillie’s new mansion. When Tillie sees them kissing, she starts wildly shooting at them with a pistol. Her uncle gives them all the boot and calls the Keystone Kops. The city guy goes with Mabel, and Tillie pursues them wildly shooting with the Keystone Kops right behind them. When the Kops knock Tillie into the sea, Charlie and Mabel call the water police. Tillie is rescued, and then gives Charlie back his ring as the police drag him away. The ending has the two gals embracing and saying good riddance to Charlie.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”