“The death of Mr. Banks leaves his niece Tillie the sole heir.”
A con-artist (Charlie Chaplin) convinces a farmer’s daughter (Marie Dressler) to elope with him to the city after stealing her father’s stash of money. Once there, he quickly takes up with his former flame (Mabel Normand), but shifts his allegiances once again when he hears that Tillie (Dressler) has inherited a million dollars from her deceased uncle.
Directed by Mack Sennett, this early Charlie Chaplin/Marie Dressler vehicle is notable as the first feature-length comedy film, and as such will be of at least passing interest to film fanatics. Unfortunately, the movie itself is little more than an extended slapstick scenario, with Chaplin’s “Little Punk” doing whatever it takes to milk poor Dressler of her familial funds, overweight Dressler mugging like crazy for the camera, and Mabel Normand having fun playing Chaplin’s no-good sidekick (watch for an interesting scene in which she and Chaplin watch a silent film about cons like themselves). Given that Peary doesn’t list short films in his book, it’s a bonus as well to see the Keystone Kops showing up near the end of the story; regardless of how much one actually enjoys their antics, film fanatics should at least be familiar with their schtick.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- An early glimpse at several silent screen icons
Yes, but simply for its historical importance as the first feature-length comedy. Available for free viewing at www.archive.org.