Ford Sterling and Mqbel Normand in “A Muddy Romance”

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Today (according to IMDB) marks the anniversary of the release of one of the most well known of the pre-Chaplin Keystone comedies, A Muddy Romance.

This is the famous one where Mack Sennett learned that the municipal authorities were about to drain a local lake and decided to shoot a movie around it. The plot is characteristic. Villain Ford Sterling wants Mabel Normand for his own and is rebuffed. She has another suitor she wants to marry (Charles Inslee). Fighting, nose biting, and brick throwing ensues. Mabel and her beau go out on the lake on a rowboat. Ford drains the lake by turning a huge valve. Everyone, including the Keystone Kops who try to rescue them are covered in a huge amounts of mud. What else do you need to make a comedy?


For more on silent and slapstick comedy, don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc

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