The Fatal MalletâCharlie Chaplin short silent film originally released June 1, 1914
The Fatal Mallet is pure slapstick from beginning to end. The film begins with Mack Sennet walking with his girl, Mabel Normand. Charlie Chaplin tries to steal her away, and when that fails, he begins throwing bricks at Sennet. Sennet throws them back, accidentally hits Mabel, etc. Mack Swain then enters the scene, and Mabel switches her attention to him as Charlie and Sennet are still fighting. The two realize whatâs happened, and they sneak up behind Swain and Charlie hits him over the head with a brickâto no effect. They work together and hit him with two bricks at onceâonly to have him remove his hat and look up, as though he felt a drop of rain.
The slapstick gets faster and more farcical from then on, as a three-way fight for Mabelâs attention ensues, including Charlie finding a ridiculously large mallet (larger than any of the mensâ heads) which he puts to good useâjust watching all of the incidentals with Charlie and the mallet are pure comedy gold. Itâs not deep, thereâs no moral to the story, itâs just funny slapstick humor, and nobody did it better than Charlie Chaplin. The Fatal Mallet is laugh out loud funny, and recommended.