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Film / Mabel's Blunder

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Mabel's Blunder is a 1914 short comedy film directed, written by, and starring Mabel Normand.

Normand plays Mabel, a secretary who is engaged to her boss's son Harry. When Mabel sees Harry embracing an attractive woman, she is grief-stricken. Her brother, who is a taxi driver, stops by Mabel's work to pick up Harry and the mysterious woman. Mabel decides to spy on Harry by dressing up in her brother's clothes and taking the wheel of the taxi. This requires her brother to dress up in her clothes. Cue comic hijinks.

Mabel's Blunder was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2009, as representative of the work of Mabel Normand, who was not only one of the first female comedy stars, but one of the first woman directors.


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This film provides examples of:

  • Disguised in Drag: Mabel's brother puts a veil over his face to complete the disguise.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Mabel's jealousy winds up embarrassing her.
  • Love Triangle: The boss's flirting makes Mabel uncomfortable.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: It turns out that the pretty woman Mabel sees Harry embracing is Harry's sister, who Harry gave an innocent hug.
  • Relative Error: Mabel draws entirely the wrong conclusion when she sees Harry embracing a woman; it's his sister.
  • Sexy Secretary: Both Harry and Harry's father are attracted to Mabel.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Mabel normand, peeping through keyholes, dressing up as a boy, acting silly as usual.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Mabel makes a surprisingly convincing boy after putting on her brother's coat and hat.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Harry's father is shocked to find out that he's been romancing Mabel's brother and not Mabel.
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