The world’s first feature-length comedy

Tillie’s Punctured Romance
R: Mack Sennett, Charles Bennett. D: Charles Chaplin, Marie Dressler, Mabel Normand. P: Keystone Film Company. USA 1914
Print: UCLA Film and Television Archive, BFI National Film and Television Archive

“The comedy in Tillie comes in several forms. The bulk of the humor, as in most Keystone films, comes from simple, unscripted physical gags. Chases, dancing, thrown objects, trips and falls (deliberate or otherwise) are all standard fare. Other gags are far more sophisticated. In one of the most well-developed scenes in the film, the Stranger and the Other Girl are sitting in a movie theater, watching a film that is touching on their situation a little too close to home. In the film, a man and woman have stolen some money from a poor, naive girl, and are found out by the police. As they watch the film, we see them getting more and more uncomfortable, obviously feeling guilty when confronted with their crimes (or at least afraid of getting caught). As the movie ends, the man sitting next to them (Charley Chase) shifts so his coat opens slightly, revealing a police badge just like the detective in the movie they were watching, and the pair dash out of the theater in terror. This parallel is slowly and elegantly revealed, showing a forethought and steady hand not frequently found in Keystone films.”
Allex Crumbley
Spellbound Cinema

“Eine Prestigeproduktion, der Birth of a Nation der Heiterkeit. Und: Chaplins erster Auftritt in einem Sechsakter, der wahrscheinlich welt­weit ersten abendfüllenden Komödie. Tillie’s Punctured Romance war Mack Sennetts Versuch, mit Keystone eine neue Mittelstands-Respektabilität zu erlangen. Das zeigt schon die Wahl der Hauptdarstellerin: Superstar Marie Dressler spielte (wie schon hunderte, tausende Male am Broadway zuvor) Tillie, die fidele Unschuld vom Lande. Charlie und Mabel Normand sollten La Dressler eigentlich nur zuarbeiten, stehlen ihr aber doch immer wieder die Schau, und zwar stets dann, wenn der Film seine Bühnenbasis vergisst, im Keystone-Tempo loslegt und Chaplin seine ganze Pantomimen-Theater-plus-Kino-Erfahrung zum Tragen bringen kann. Ein faszinierender Eiertanz zwischen den Medien, der aus seiner hybriden ­Natur eine ganz eigene Verve gewinnt.” (R.H.)
Filmmuseum