Tillie's Punctured Romance (1914)

Comedy | 21 December 1914

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HISTORY

Tillie's Punctured Romance has often been called the first American made feature-length comedy. The picture marked Marie Dressler's motion picture debut and Charles Chaplin's feature film debut. The distribution rights to this film were highly disputed and litigation between Sennett and the Alco Film Corp. went on for some time. Although some sources listed the character played by Charles Bennett as "Douglas Banks," within the film, a newspaper article gave the character the name "Donald Banks."
       Modern sources list the scenarist as Hampton Del Ruth, the cameramen as Hans F. Koenekamp and Frank D. Williams and include the following additional cast members: Charles Murray, Gordon Griffith, Phyllis Allen, Harry McCoy, Alice Howell, Wallace MacDonald, Joe Bordeaux, G. G. Ligon, Gordon Griffith, Billie Bennette, Reverend D. Simpson, Nick Cogley and Ford Sterling. In interviews, actor-comedian Milton Berle (1908-2002) stated that he appeared in the film as a "baby" in actress Mabel Normand's arms, but there was no such scene in the print viewed.
       The film, according to modern accounts, took fourteen weeks to shoot on what was supposed to have been a two week schedule. The film was a tremendous success and one reviewer called it "The Cabiria of comedy," a reference to the 1913 Italian film which had recently played successfully in the United States. Marie Dressler made sequels to the film for other companies, including Tillie's Tomato Surprise (1915) and Tillie Wakes Up (1917). She had previously played in the Broadway musical comedy upon which this film was based. The film has been re-issued and re-edited several times, beginning in 1920. A ... More Less

Tillie's Punctured Romance has often been called the first American made feature-length comedy. The picture marked Marie Dressler's motion picture debut and Charles Chaplin's feature film debut. The distribution rights to this film were highly disputed and litigation between Sennett and the Alco Film Corp. went on for some time. Although some sources listed the character played by Charles Bennett as "Douglas Banks," within the film, a newspaper article gave the character the name "Donald Banks."
       Modern sources list the scenarist as Hampton Del Ruth, the cameramen as Hans F. Koenekamp and Frank D. Williams and include the following additional cast members: Charles Murray, Gordon Griffith, Phyllis Allen, Harry McCoy, Alice Howell, Wallace MacDonald, Joe Bordeaux, G. G. Ligon, Gordon Griffith, Billie Bennette, Reverend D. Simpson, Nick Cogley and Ford Sterling. In interviews, actor-comedian Milton Berle (1908-2002) stated that he appeared in the film as a "baby" in actress Mabel Normand's arms, but there was no such scene in the print viewed.
       The film, according to modern accounts, took fourteen weeks to shoot on what was supposed to have been a two week schedule. The film was a tremendous success and one reviewer called it "The Cabiria of comedy," a reference to the 1913 Italian film which had recently played successfully in the United States. Marie Dressler made sequels to the film for other companies, including Tillie's Tomato Surprise (1915) and Tillie Wakes Up (1917). She had previously played in the Broadway musical comedy upon which this film was based. The film has been re-issued and re-edited several times, beginning in 1920. A 1928 Paramount release, also entitled Tillie's Punctured Romance , directed by Edward Sutherland and starring W. C. Fields, is unrelated to the 1914 film or the Edgar Sloane play Tillie's Nightmare (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Motog
9 Jan 15
p. 77.
Motog
14 Nov 14
pp. 657-58.
MPN
16 Jan 15
p. 60.
MPW
6 Feb 15
p. 841.
NYDM
4 Nov 14
p. 36.
Variety
1 Jan 15
p. 29.
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 December 1914
Copyright Claimants:
The Keystone Film Co. Christie Film Co., Inc.
Copyright Dates:
4 December 1914 23 March 1915
Copyright Numbers:
LU4875 LP24669
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When country girl Tillie Banks meets Charlie, s stranger from the city,he convinces her to take her father's money and accompany him to the city. He leaves her for Mabel, the girl he left behind, when the money is gone, after which a drunken Tillie is thrown out of a cabaret and arrested. When the police discover that she is the niece of wealthy Donald Banks, she is taken to his mansion, but her oafish ways disgust him and he also throws her out. Banks then goes mountain climbing and has a seemingly fatal accident. Charlie drops Mabel when he reads about Tillie's impending inheritance and finds Tillie working as a waitress. Charlie convinces her to marry him and they move into the Banks mansion, but a few days later Banks is found alive and returns to his mansion during a raucous party. After Banks throws everyone out, Charlie and Mabel, who was hired as a party maid, are chased by Tillie and the police to a pier where Tillie almost drowns, but is saved by a remorseful Mabel. Finally the women embraace and go off together as Charlie is ... +


When country girl Tillie Banks meets Charlie, s stranger from the city,he convinces her to take her father's money and accompany him to the city. He leaves her for Mabel, the girl he left behind, when the money is gone, after which a drunken Tillie is thrown out of a cabaret and arrested. When the police discover that she is the niece of wealthy Donald Banks, she is taken to his mansion, but her oafish ways disgust him and he also throws her out. Banks then goes mountain climbing and has a seemingly fatal accident. Charlie drops Mabel when he reads about Tillie's impending inheritance and finds Tillie working as a waitress. Charlie convinces her to marry him and they move into the Banks mansion, but a few days later Banks is found alive and returns to his mansion during a raucous party. After Banks throws everyone out, Charlie and Mabel, who was hired as a party maid, are chased by Tillie and the police to a pier where Tillie almost drowns, but is saved by a remorseful Mabel. Finally the women embraace and go off together as Charlie is arrested. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.