MeToo 1909, or: Pie in the Face

Mr. Flip
R: Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson. D: Ben Turpin. P: Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. USA 1909
(Not complete)

“Mr. Flip is sometimes credited (either overtly or by omitting all earlier titles) with containing the first pie-in-the-face gag. Not even close. Family Troubles (1900) features a probable pie to the face and the 1905 comedy The Coal Strike contains a confirmed pieing. The joke had been a popular one on the stage for quite some time as pies were easy enough to mock up as props with shaving cream and the like, it would have been a no-brainer for comedians to make use of them. (…) The version of Mr. Flip that is most readily available is missing the final two harassment sequences but, frankly, this is for the best. (At least according to the synopsis found in Moving Picture World.) Turpin’s character tries to arrange an assignation with an actress but she has her African-American maid wear a veil and go in her stead. Turpin’s “punishment” is discovering that the object of his affection is not white. (…) The film originally ended with Mr. Flip receiving his final comeuppance at the hands of laundry workers. As it stands, the picture is more of a loosely connected set of vignettes without much closure. The direction, especially compared to the visual sophistication of other 1909 entertainments like Princess Nicotine, is rudimentary at best.”
Fritzi Kramer
Movies Silently

“The more significant point is that Mr. Flip can ultimately be read as a fable, however farcial, of working women’s struggles to reform untoward masculine behavior. A comparison again proves useful: the psychological reformation of  Griffith’s drunkard here becomes the physiological reformation of the flirt, and the physicality of the women’s reformist agenda is far from subtl. The flamboyant difference of the ‘average’ working woman’s reformation of the ‘average’ working man effects a wild variable in the filmic discourse as well,  which appears in the second scene. The scene opens with a medium long shot of a manicurist’s parlor, but radically alters the viewer’s perspective by offering a detail cut-in: a close-shot insert reveals a long needle that one of the women places under Mr. Flip’s seat. As he lowers himself unknowingly onto the razor-sharp point he becomes – quite literally – the butt of the joke.”
Jennifer M. Bean: 1909. Movies and Progress. In: André Gaudreault (ed.): American Cinema 1890-1909: Themes and Variations. Rutgers University Press 2009, p. 235-236