In Time Bandits, Napoleon declared that he liked “little things hitting each other.” That sums up a fair portion of silent comedy and today, we’re going to be celebrating smacks, slaps, shoves and assorted assaults upon the gentlemen of silent cinema. The twist? All will be delivered by ladies.
Damsels in distress? Ha!
We’ll start with one of the queens of silent comedy, Mabel Normand, delivering a swift slap to her co-star in Fatty and Mabel at the San Diego Exposition.
The short was released as part of the four-disc Forgotten Films of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle box set.
In The Magic Cloak of Oz, our mistress of magic also wields a mean right arm, which she uses to defeat a servant who gets in her way. This was one of the Oz films produced by L. Frank Baum himself and it’s… something.
My favorite home video edition is the one included as an extra on the 2005 DVD release of the 1939 Oz film.
Underrated comedy star Lupino Lane discovers that posing as a kid isn’t as easy as it looks when he runs afoul of a spirited lass.
Mary Pickford clonks future husband Buddy Rogers over the head in My Best Girl, her last silent film and a delightful little rom-com.
This film was released on DVD by Milestone.
Let’s close this with more Mabel! She’s fighting off some local jerks in Won in a Cupboard, which she also directed.
This short was released in the compilation Lost and Found: American Treasures from the New Zealand Film Archive.
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