Oh, Those Eyes!
R: Mack Sennett. B: Juanita Bennett. K: Percy Higginson. D: Mabel Normand, Eddie Dillon, Dell Henderson, J. Jiquel Lanoe, William J. Butler, Frank Evans. P: American Biograph. USA 1912
R: Mack Sennett. B: Dell Henderson. K: Percy Higginson. D: Mabel Normand, Fred Mace, Frank Evans, William J. Butler, J. Jiquel Lanoe, Frank Opperman. P: American Biograph. USA 1912
A Dash through the Clouds
R: Mack Sennett. B: Dell Henderson. K: Percy Higginson. D: Mabel Normand, Fred Mace, Phillip Parmalee, Kate Bruce, Grace Henderson, Jack Pickford, Eddie Dillon.
P: American Biograph. USA 1912
“Known for her gaiety and spontaneous spirit, Normand appeared in hundreds of films (and directed several of them) and rose to such heights of popularity that she briefly rivaled Mary Pickford as ‘America’s sweetheart’. (…) In 1910, despite her lack of acting experience, she succeeded in getting a job as an extra at the Biograph motion picture studio in New York City. She then worked for the Vitagraph studio until late 1911, when she returned to Biograph. During this period she played both comic and dramatic roles, sometimes under the studio-assigned name of Muriel Fortescue.
While at Biograph, Normand met director Mack Sennett, who would become one of the most important people in her life, both personally and professionally. In 1912 she left Biograph with Sennett to join his new Keystone Film Company in California. (…) Normand charmed audiences with her petite, impish beauty but also participated fully in the rough, slam-bang physical comedy that was Sennett’s trademark. While working on a Sennett film about 1913 she is said to have succumbed to impulse and thrown a custard pie at Ben Turpin, thus creating what soon became a classic film comedy bit.
Normand was the unquestioned female star of the Keystone company when Charlie Chaplin joined it late in 1913, and he learned much basic filmcraft from her. They appeared in 11 films together, mostly one- and two-reelers. She directed him in Mabel at the Wheel (1914), and they later codirected several films, including Mabel’s Busy Day and Mabel’s Married Life (both 1914). Their most famous pairing is perhaps the great Tillie’s Punctured Romance (1914), the first feature-length comedy, in which they were joined by Marie Dressler.”