On September 2, 1918, the movie «Peck’s Bad Girl» with Mabel Normand was released. It was a return for Ms. Normand to the type of slapstick comedy that had made her famous in the previous years.
Unfortunately, this film seems to be lost.
Minnie Penelope Peck (Mabel Normand), the village scamp of Yaptank, accompanies her father to the bank to demand the nine dollars owed him for his work as a night watchman. When the bank president refuses to pay Peck (Edward M. Favor), Minnie posts a sign which states that the bank is insolvent, whereupon all of the depositors immediately demand their money. The fire department is called in to quell the mob, but things get worse when Minnie accidentally turns on the fire hose. Minnie is saved from reform school by a new woman in town, Hortense Martinot (Corinne Barker), who hires the tomboy to model clothing in her shop. After falling in love with Dick (Earle Foxe), a jewelry store proprietor, Minnie discovers that Hortense, in league with two gentlemen from the city, is planning to rob the bank. With the help of Dick, who is actually a detective, Minnie captures the crooks and then accepts a wedding ring from her jewelry salesman.
Throughout the first of this we get friend Mabel of the old Keystone days, bouncing through hokum comedy in that hurry, jumpy manner of hers, which made her stand out so much that she got the label of Keystone Mabel. The story was small town stuff and we had some very good types with a number of little touches that will register and then at the finish they shot through a sequence of fast melodrama that goes over because it’s snappy.
One of the chief faults with this is that the titles in many instances over-reached in an attempt to be funny. Some of the titles were very good but many of them were overdrawn. There were also a few spots in which the hokum comedy was played too broadly, with the result that it missed. There is always a question, when considering farce hokum, as to just how it will go with various audiences, and there is, of course, a possibility that this will not be too broad at any time for some audiences. The kitchen mechanic, factory help cash customer will undoubtedly eat this up all the way.
There are several sequences that stood out because they registered Miss Normand’s ability to get laughs by her own hokum tricks, as for instance the incident where she held confidential converse with the wax model in the store, and the incident where she put on an evening gown without removing her under- vest which buttoned high at the throat.
There was a sequence having to do with a run on the bank which was not particularly funny, although it provided a lot of action and may get laughs from some audiences, particularly when they get into the bursting of the hose incident.
Miss Normand was photographed to advantage most of the way and given plenty of opportunity to run wild and register that snappy personality of hers which has won her a real place on the screen. The entire cast was particularly well chosen as to type.
I believe that this will go over with the better class this because those things have been overdone. It should of audience because it is presented without any thought be sufficient to tell them that it’s Keystone Mabel back of being taken seriously, and it has enough speed and in action in a farce comedy that moves, pep to carry through. Some of the titles may jar very decidedly with your In the popular-price houses where they like a little of highbrows, although the rough necks may possibly get the rough stuff, I think this will hit them just about a laugh out of them.
I would certainly not make any rash promises about I would emphasize particularly the fact that this is a small-town story, because some of the best fun in the offering has to do with little touches about the various village characters. The title, «Peck’s Bad Girl,» should be worth something because of course everyone immediately thinks of the well-known book, «Peck’s Bad Boy.»
his is the type of story photoplay-goers have been clamoring to see Mabel Normand in for a long time. Not since her Keystone days has she had anything that approached the rough and tumble roguishness of this well-constructed comedy. It is a distinct tribute to Miss Normand’s versatility that she can «come back» and please as thoroughly as she did in the old days.
There is not much of a story. It wasn’t necessary. What the Normand followers wanted to see was their favorite up to her old tricks, and at the Orpheum theatre, Chicago, where it ran for two days, it more than filled the bill.