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Film / Mickey

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Mickey is a 1918 film directed by F. Richard Jones and James Young, starring the silent era's most famous screen comedienne, Mabel Normand, in her first feature after leaving Mack Sennett's Keystone Pictures.

Normand is Mickey, the orphan tomboy ward of roughneck gold miner Joe Meadows. Joe has raised Mickey from childhood after the death of her father, his old partner. Joe now believes that Mickey needs a more sophisticated environment and the company of women, so he reluctantly sends her off to live with her mother's family, the Drakes. Unfortunately Mrs. Drake, Mickey's aunt, is a selfish schemer who's only after Mickey's money. When she finds out that Mickey has no money—Joe's mine is tapped out—she forces Mickey to work as a servant in her mansion. Meanwhile, wealthy miner Herbert Thornhill has taken a shine to Mickey, but Mrs. Drake is trying to maneuver him into marrying her unpleasant daughter Elsie.


Mickey provides examples of:

  • Attempted Rape: Eventually Mickey's slimy cousin Reggie stops pretending to be nice and tries to rape her. She's saved by Herbert's timely arrival.
  • Banister Slide: Mickey the tomboy has a habit of doing this when she's supposed to be sweeping the floors at the Drake mansion.
  • Climbing Climax: Mickey, being chased by Reggie the would-be rapist, winds up climbing all the way to the roof of the Drake mansion.
  • Dance of Romance: Part of the quasi-Cinderella plot involves Mickey stealing a dress from the Drakes and making it into the ball, where she meets Herbert again.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In Mickey's first scene she is shown filching her guardian's hat and charging into the mine to rescue her stray cat. A panicked Joe goes in after her, falls to the bottom, and needs rescuing himself—all while Mickey is safe and sound after escaping through a side tunnel. Her tomboyish fearlessness is established.
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  • Fish out of Water: Mickey has no idea how to react when she arrives at the Drakes' house. She starts eating the sugar cubes served with tea.
  • Gold Digger: Mrs. Drake only invites Mickey after incorrectly concluding that Mickey is rich. She's also trying to marry her daughter off to Herbert for his money.
  • Kick the Dog: The mean owner of the general store literally does this after Mickey comes in with her dog.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Mickey takes her dog to the general store. This proves a bad idea when the store's dog-hating owner flips out.
  • Meet Cute: Mickey is on the run from the sheriff, who wants to put down her dog. She scurries into an open room in the boarding house. Herbert checks into the boarding house and is warned about a prowler in the area. He hears a noise under his bed and draws his guns. Mickey emerges with her dog.
  • Parental Substitute: Apparently Joe has been looking after Mickey since she was a toddler. He obviously loves her, as shown by how emotional he gets when deciding to send Mickey away.
  • Rags to Riches: Predictably, Joe's Tomboy Mine that hasn't paid in 20 years suddenly yields a rich gold claim. And Mickey gets even richer when she marries Herbert.
  • Skinny Dipping: In the most surprising scene in the movie, title cards say "Boundary lines—and curves." Herbert, who is out surveying his mine, turns his telescope to find Mickey, off in the far distance, diving into the water for a swim.
  • Squirrels in My Pants: An actual squirrel that actually gets into Mickey's pants. Herbert tries to get it out, which leads to Not What It Looks Like when Joe finds Herbert with his hand in Mickey's pants.
  • Throwing the Fight: Herbert, who has suffered a financial reversal, bets a lot of money on a horse race. The other gamblers get the jockey to agree to tank the race. Mickey, who overhears this, basically mugs the jockey and takes his place in the race.
  • Tomboy: Mickey rides horses, swims nude in the lake, goes down mineshafts without hesitation, and is fond of shooting at people with slingshots. Joe has named his mine the Tomboy Mine after her.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Mickey wears some baggy, rather ragged, rather masculine clothing. But she's still played by the gorgeous Mabel Normand, sporting some Pickford-esque curls.