Select Page

The top grossing film of 1918, reportedly earning $17,200,000 on an estimated budget of $125,000.  An ambitiously eclectic comedy/drama with elements of western, romance, Keystone comedy, screwball comedy, and a Cinderella story.  Mabel Normand (who often starred opposite Charlie Chaplin or Fatty Arbuckle) was at the peak of her career in 1918—this was the only film put out by her own production company.  She is a genuine precursor of greatness in comic actresses as she portrays everything from tomboy to society girl to ingénue in this film.  I see in her an early version of some amalgamation of Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Bernadette Peters.  Pictured here is the sheet music for the title song—Mickey was one of the first movies to have such a thing. Normand’s role as a female with real power in Hollywood, and as an early female director with real creative control, is often forgotten today.  Miss Normand had a tempestuous life in Hollywood after this.  She was closely associated with the case involving the murder of director William Desmond Taylor, and rumors of her cocaine addiction played a big part in the media sensation around the murder, not to mention the fact that she was last person known to see the director alive, and his body was found wearing a locket containing her picture.  She was cleared of the murder, but rumors swirled, such as the notion that her cocaine suppliers had Taylor killed, because he loved her and was trying to cure her of her cocaine addiction.  (Her family says that she never used drugs, however, and all this was trumped up after the murder.)  Descending to a career low after the sensationalized case, she was undergoing a comeback in the late 1920’s, but she was laid low by tuberculosis, which killed her in 1930 at age 37.