Sennett, Mack

views updated May 23 2018


Nationality: Canadian. Born: Mikall (Michael) Sinnott in Danville, Quebec, 17 January 1880. Career: Burlesque performer and chorus boy on Broadway, 1902–08; actor in Biograph films, 1908–10; director of Biograph shorts, from 1910, moved to Hollywood; formed Keystone Production Company with Charles Bauman and Adam Kessel, 1912; Keystone absorbed into Triangle Film Corporation with Thomas Ince and D.W. Griffith's production companies, 1915; formed production company Mack Sennett Comedies following collapse of Triangle, 1917, though films released by Paramount; associated with Pathé, 1923–28, and with Educational Films, 1929–32, also returned to directing; producer and director of shorts for Paramount, from 1932, and experimented with early color process called "Natural Color"; returned to Educational Films, 1935, then retired to Canada; held nominal position at 20th Century-Fox from 1939. Awards: Special Oscar for contributions to screen comedy, 1937. Died: 1960.

Films as Director:


The Lucky Toothache (+ sc, role); The Masher (+ sc, role)


Comrades (+ role); Priscilla's April Fool Joke; Cured; Priscilla and the Umbrella; Cupid's Joke; Misplaced Jealousy; The Country Lovers; The Manicure Lady (+ role); Curiosity; A Dutch Gold Mine (+ role); Dave's Love Affair; TheirFates Sealed; Bearded Youth; The Delayed Proposal; Stubbs'New Servants; The Wonderful Eye; The Jealous Husband; The Ghost; Jinks Joins the Temperance Club; Mr. PeckGoes Calling; The Beautiful Voice; That Dare Devil (+ role); An Interrupted Game; The Diving Girl; $500,000 Reward (+ role); The Baron; The Villain Foiled; The Village Hero (+ role); The Lucky Horseshoe; A Convenient Burglar; When Wifey Holds the Purse Strings; Too Many Burglars; Mr. Bragg, A Fugitive; Trailing the Counterfeit (+ role); Josh's Suicide; Through His Wife's Picture; The Inventor'sSecret; A Victim of Circumstances; Their First DivorceCase (+ role); Dooley Scheme; Won through a Medium; Resourceful Lovers; Her Mother Interferes; Why He GaveUp; Abe Gets Even with Father; Taking His Medicine; HerPet; Caught with the Goods (+ role); A Mix-up in Raincoats; The Joke on the Joker; Who Got the Reward; Braveand Bold; Did Mother Get Her Wash; With a Kodak; Pantsand Pansies; A Near-Tragedy; Lily's Lovers; The FatalChocolate (+ role); Got a Match; A Message from theMoon; Priscilla's Capture; A Spanish Dilemma (+ role); The Engagement Ring; A Voice from the Deep; Hot Stuff; Oh, Those Eyes; Those Hicksville Boys; Their First Kidnapping Case (+ role); Help, Help; The Brave Hunter; Wonby a Fish; The Leading Man; The Fickle Spaniard; Whenthe Fire Bells Rang; The Furs; A Close Call; Helen'sMarriage; Tomboy Bessie; Algy, the Watchman; KatchemKate; Neighbors; A Dash through the Clouds; The NewBaby; Trying to Fool; One Round O'Brien; The SpeedDemon; His Own Fault; The Would Be Shriner (+ role); Willie Becomes an Artist; The Tourists; What the DoctorOrdered; An Interrupted Elopement; The Tragedy of a DressSuit; Mr. Grouch at the Seashore; Through Dumb Luck


Cohen Collects a Debt (Cohen at Coney Island) (+ pr); TheWater Nymph (+ pr); Riley and Schultz (+ pr); The NewNeighbor (+ pr); The Beating He Needed (+ pr); Pedro'sDilemma (+ pr, role); Stolen Glory (+ pr, role); The Ambitious Butler (+ pr, role); The Flirting Husband (+ pr); TheGrocery Clerk's Romance (+ pr); At Coney Island (+ pr, role); Mabel's Lovers (+ pr); At It Again (+ pr, role); TheDeacon's Troubles (+ pr); A Temperamental Husband (+ pr); The Rivals (+ pr, role); Mr. (+ pr, role); A DesperateLover (+ pr); A Bear Escape (+ pr, role); Pat's Day Off (+ pr, role); Brown's Seance (+ pr); A Family Mixup (+ pr, role); A Midnight Elopement (+ pr); Mabel's Adventures (+ pr); Useful Sheep (+ pr); Hoffmeyer's Legacy (+ pr); TheDrummer's Vacation (+ pr); The Duel (+ pr, role); Mabel'sStrategem (+ pr)


Saving Mabel's Dad (+ pr); A Double Wedding (+ pr); TheCure That Failed (+ pr); How Hiram Won Out (+ pr); ForLizzie's Sake (+ pr); Sir Thomas Lipton out West (+ pr); TheMistaken Masher (+ pr, role); The Deacon Outwitted (+ pr); The Elite Ball (+ pr); Just Brown's Luck (+ pr); The Battleof Who Run (+ pr, role); The Jealous Waiter (+ pr); TheStolen Purse (+ pr, role); Mabel's Heroes (+ pr, role); HerBirthday Present (+ pr); Heinze's Resurrection (+ pr); ALandlord's Troubled (+ pr); Forced Bravery (+ pr); TheProfessor's Daughter (+ pr); A Tangled Affair (+ pr); A RedHot Romance (+ pr); A Doctored Affair (+ pr); The Sleuth'sLast Stand (+ pr, role); A Deaf Burglar (+ pr); The Sleuthsat the Floral Parade (+ pr, role); A Rural Third Degree (+ pr); A Strong Revenge (+ pr, role); The Two Widows (+ pr); Foiling Fickle Father (+ pr); Love and Pain (+ pr); The Man Next Door (+ pr); A Wife Wanted (+ pr); The Rubeand the Baron (+ pr, role); Jenny's Pearls (+ pr); TheChief's Predicament (+ pr); At Twelve O'Clock (+ pr); HerNew Beau (+ pr, role); On His Wedding Day (+ pr); TheLand Salesman (+ pr); Hide and Seek (+ pr); Those GoodOld Days (+ pr); A Game of Poker (+ pr); Father's Choice (+ pr); A Life in the Balance (+ pr); Murphy's I.O.U. (+ pr); A Dollar Did It (+ pr); Cupid in the Dental Parlor (+ pr); AFishy Affair (+ pr); The Bangville Police (+ pr); The NewConductor (+ pr); His Chum, the Baron (+ pr); ThatRagtime Band (+ pr); Algie on the Force (+ pr); His Upsand Downs (+ pr); The Darktown Belle (+ pr); A Little Hero (+ pr); Mabel's Awful Mistake (+ pr, role); The Foremanand the Jury (+ pr); The Gangster (+ pr); Barney Oldfield'sRace for a Life (+ pr, role); Passions—He Had Three (+ pr); Help! Help! Hydrophobia! (+ pr); The Hansom Driver (+ pr, role); The Speed Queen (+ pr); The Waiter's Picnic (+ pr); The Tale of the Black Eye (+ pr); Out and In (+ pr); ABandit (+ pr); Peeping Pete (+ pr); His Crooked Career (+ pr, role); For Love of Mabel (+ pr); Safe in Jail (+ pr); The Telltale Light (+ pr); Love and Rubbish (+ pr); A Noisefrom the Deep (+ pr); The Peddler (+ pr); Love andCourage (+ pr); Professor Bean's Removal (+ pr); Cohen'sOuting (+ pr); The Firebugs (+ pr); Baby Day (+ pr); Mabel's New Hero (+ pr); Mabel's Dramatic Career (+ pr, role); The Gypsy Queen (+ pr); Willie Minds the Dog (+ pr); When Dreams Come True (+ pr); Mother's Boy (+ pr); TheBowling Match (+ pr); The Speed Kings (+ pr); LoveSickness at Sea (+ pr, role); A Muddy Romance (+ pr); Cohen Saves the Flag (+ pr); Zuzu the Band Leader (+ pr)


In the Clutches of the Gang (+ pr); Mabel's Strange Predicament (co-d, pr); Love and Gasoline (+ pr); Mack at It Again (+ pr, role); Mabel at the Wheel (+ pr, role); The Knockout (+ pr); A New York Girl (+ pr, role); His Talented Wife (+ pr, role); Tillie's Punctured Romance (+ pr, feature); The FatalMallet (co-d with Chaplin, pr, role)


Hearts and Planets (+ pr, role); The Little Teacher (+ pr, role); My Valet (+ pr, role); A Favorite Fool (+ pr); Stolen Magic (+ pr, role)


Oh, Mabel Behave (co-d, pr, role)


A Finished Actor (co-d, pr)


The Lion's Roar (+ sc, pr)


The Bride's Relation (+ pr); The Old Barn (+ pr); Whirls andGirls (+ pr); Broadway Blues (+ pr); The Bee's Buzz (+ pr); Girl Crazy (+ pr); The Barber's Daughter (+ pr); JazzMamas (+ pr); The New Bankroll (+ pr); The Constable (+ pr); Midnight Daddies (+ pr); The Lunkhead (+ pr); TheGolfers (+ pr); A Hollywood Star (+ pr); Scotch (+ pr); Sugar Plum Papa (+ pr); Bulls and Bears (+ pr); MatchPlay (+ pr); Honeymoon Zeppelin (+ pr); Fat Wives for Thin (+ pr); Campus Crushes (+ pr); The Chumps (+ pr); Goodbye Legs (+ pr); Average Husband (+ pr); VacationLoves (+ pr); The Bluffer (+ pr); Grandma's Girl (+ pr); Divorced Sweethearts (+ pr); Racket Cheers (+ pr); RoughIdea of Love (+ pr)


A Poor Fish (+ pr); Dance Hall Marge (+ pr); The Chiseler (+ pr); Ghost Parade (+ pr); Hollywood Happenings (+ pr); Hold 'er Sheriff (+ pr); Monkey Business in America (+ pr); Movie-Town (+ pr, role); The Albany Bunch (+ pr); ISurrender Dear (+ pr); Speed (+ pr); One More Chance (+ pr)


Hypnotized (+ pr, sc)


Ye Olde Saw Mill (+ pr, sc); Flicker Fever (+ pr); Just AnotherMurder (+ sc, pr); The Timid Young Man (+ pr); Way upThar (+ pr)

Other Films:

(incomplete list)


Balked at the Altar (Griffith) (role); Father Gets in the Game (Griffith) (role); The Song of the Shirt (Griffith) (role); Mr.Jones at the Ball (Griffith) (role)


Mr. Jones Has a Card Party (Griffith) (role); The CurtainPole (Griffith) (role); The Politician's Love Story (Griffith) (role); The Lonely Villa (Griffith) (role); The Way of a Man (Griffith) (role); The Slave (Griffith) (role); Pippa Passes (Griffith) (role); The Gibson Goddess (Griffith) (role); Nursing a Viper (Griffith) (role)


The Dancing Girl of Butte (Griffith) (role); All on Account ofthe Milk (Griffith) (role); The Englishman and the Girl (Griffith) (role); The Newlyweds (Griffith) (role); An Affairof Hearts (Griffith) (role); Never Again! (Griffith) (role); The Call to Arms (Griffith) (role); An Arcadian Maid (Griffith) (role)


The Italian Barber (Griffith) (role); Paradise Lost (Griffith) (role); The White Rose of the Wilds (Griffith) (role); TheLast Drop of Water (Griffith) (role)


The Brave Hunter (role)


Their First Execution (pr); Hubby's Job (pr); Betwixt Loveand Fire (pr); Toplitsky and Company (pr); Feeding Time (pr); Largest Boat Ever Launched Sidewalks (pr); Rastusand the Game-Cock (pr); Get Rich Quick (pr); Just Kids (pr); A Game of Pool (pr); The Latest in Life Saving (pr); AChip off the Old Block (pr); The Kelp Industry (pr); Fatty'sDay Off (pr); Los Angeles Harbour (pr); The New Baby (pr); What Father Saw (pr); The Faithful Taxicab (pr); BillyDodges Bills (pr); Across the Alley (pr); The AbaloneIndustry (pr); Schnitz the Tailor (pr); Their Husbands (pr); A Healthy Neighborhood (pr); Two Old Tars (pr); A QuietLittle Wedding (pr); The Janitor (pr); The Making of anAutomobile Tire (pr); Fatty at San Diego (pr); A SmallTown Act (pr); The Milk We Drink (pr); Wine (pr); OurChildren (pr); Fatty Joins the Force (pr); The WomanHaters (pr); The Rogues' Gallery (pr); The San FranciscoCelebration (pr); A Ride for a Bride (pr); The Horse Thief (pr); The Gusher (pr); Fatty's Flirtation (pr); ProtectingSan Francisco from Fire (pr); His Sister's Kids (pr); A BadGame (pr); Some Nerve (pr); The Champion (pr); He WouldA Hunting Go (pr)


A Misplaced Foot (pr); A Glimpse of Los Angeles (pr); Loveand Dynamite (pr); Mabel's Stormy Love Affair (pr); TheUnder Sheriff (pr); A Flirt's Mistake (pr); How MotionPictures Are Made (pr); Too Many Brides (pr); Won ina Closet (pr); Rebecca's Wedding Day (pr); Little BillyTriumphs (pr); Mabel's Bare Escape (pr); Making A Living (pr); Little Billy's Strategy (pr); Kid Auto Races at Venice (pr); Olives and Their Oil (pr); A Robust Romeo (pr); Raffles (pr); Gentleman Burglar (pr); A Thief Catcher (pr);Twixt Love and Fire (pr); Little Billy's City Cousin (pr); Between Showers (pr); A Film Johnnie (pr); Tango Tangles (pr); His Favorite Pastime (pr); A Rural Demon (pr); TheRace (How Villains Are Made) (pr); Across the Hall (pr); Cruel, Cruel Love (pr); Barnyard Flirtations (pr); A BackYard Theater (pr); Chicken Chaser (pr); The Star Boarder (pr); Fatal High (pr); The Passing of Izzy (pr); A BathingBeauty (A Bathhouse Beauty) (pr); Twenty Minutes of Love (pr); Where Hazel Met the Villain (pr); Bowery Boys (pr); Caught in a Cabaret (pr); When Villains Wait (pr); Caughtin the Rain (pr); A Busy Day (pr); The Morning Papers (pr); A Suspended Ordeal (pr); Finnegan's Bomb (pr); Mabel'sNerve (pr); The Water Dog (pr); When Reuben Fooled theBandits (pr); Acres of Alfalfa (pr); Our Large Birds (pr); The Fatal Flirtation (pr); The Alarm (pr); The Fatal Mallet (pr); Her Friend the Bandit (pr); Our Country Cousin (pr); Mabel's Busy Day (pr); A Gambling Rube (pr); A MissingBride (pr); Mabel's Married Life (pr); The Eavesdropper (pr); Fatty and the Heiress (pr); Caught in Tights (pr); Fatty's Finish (pr); Love and Bullets (pr); Row-Boat Romance (pr); Laughing Gas (pr); Love and Salt Water (pr); World'sOldest Living Thing (pr); Mabel's New Job (pr); The SkyPirate (pr); The Fatal Sweet Tooth (pr); Those Happy Days (pr); The Great Toe Mystery (pr); Soldiers of Misfortune (pr); The Property Man (pr, role); A Coat's Tale (pr); TheFace on the Barroom Floor (pr); Recreation (pr); TheYosemite (pr); Such a Cook (pr); That Minstrel Man (pr); Those Country Kids (pr); Caught in a Flue (pr); Fatty's Gift (pr); The Masquerader (pr); Her Last Chance (pr); His NewProfession (pr); The Baggage Smasher (pr); A Brand NewHero (pr); The Rounders (pr); Mabel's Latest Prank (pr); Mabel's Blunder (pr); All at Sea (pr); Bombs and Bangs (pr); Lover's Luck (pr); He Loved the Ladies (pr); The NewJanitor (pr); Fatty's Debut (pr); Hard Cider (pr); KillingHearts (pr); Fatty Again (pr); Their Ups and Downs (pr); Hello Mabel (pr); Those Love Pangs (pr); The Anglers (pr); The High Spots on Broadway (pr); Zipp, the Dodger (pr); Dash, Love and Splash (pr); Santa Catalina Islands (pr); The Love Thief (pr); Stout Heart but Weak Knees (pr); Shotin the Excitement (pr); Doug and Dynamite (pr); Gentlemenof Nerve (pr); Lovers' Post Office (pr); Curses! TheyRemarked (pr); His Musical Career (pr); His TrystingPlace (pr); An Incompetent Hero (pr); How Heroes AreMade (pr); Fatty's Jonah Day (pr); The Noise of Bombs (pr); Fatty's Wine Party (pr); His Taking Ways (pr); TheSea Nymphs (pr); His Halted Career (pr); Among theMourners (pr); Leading Lizzie Astray (pr); Shotguns ThatKick (pr); Getting Acquainted (pr); Other People's Business (pr); His Prehistoric Past (pr); The Plumber (pr); Ambrose's First Falsehood (pr); Fatty's Magic Pants (pr); Hogan's Annual Spree (pr); A Colored Girl's Love (pr); Wild West Love (pr); Fatty and Minnie-He-Haw (pr); HisSecond Childhood (pr); Gussle the Golfer (pr); Hogan'sWild Oats (pr); A Steel Rolling Mill (pr); The Knockout (Chaplin) (role)


A Dark Lover's Play (pr); Hushing the Scandal (pr); HisWinning Punch (pr); U.S. Army in San Francisco (pr); Giddy, Gay and Ticklish (pr); Only A Farmer's Daughter (pr); Rum and Wall Paper (pr); Mabel's and Fatty's WashDay (pr); Hash House Mashers (pr); Love, Speed, andThrills (pr); Mabel and Fatty's Simple Life (pr); Hogan'sMessy Job (pr); Fatty and Mabel at the San Diego Exposition (pr); Colored Villainy (pr); Mabel, Fatty and the Law (pr); Peanuts and Bullets (pr); The Home Breakers (pr); Fatty's New Role (pr); Hogan the Porter (pr); Caught in thePark (pr); A Bird's a Bird (pr); Hogan's Romance Upset (pr); Hogan's Aristocratic Dream (pr); Ye Olden Grafter (pr); A Glimpse of the San Diego Exposition (pr); A LuckyLeap (pr); That Springtime Fellow (pr); Hogan out West (pr); Ambrose's Sour Grapes (pr); Wilful Ambrose (pr); Fatty's Reckless Fling (pr); From Patches to Plenty (pr); Fatty's Chance Acquaintance (pr); Love in Armor (pr); Beating Hearts and Carpets (pr); That Little Band of Gold (pr); Ambrose's Little Hatchet (pr); Fatty's Faithful Fido (pr); A One Night Stand (pr); Ambrose's Fury (pr); Gussie'sDay of Rest (pr); When Love Took Wings (pr); Ambrose'sLofty Perch (pr); Droppington's Devilish Dream (pr); TheRent Jumpers (pr); Droppington's Family Tree (pr); TheBeauty Bunglers (pr); Do-Re-Mi-Fa (pr); Ambrose's NastyTemper (pr); Fatty and Mabel Viewing the World's Fair atSan Francisco (pr); Love, Loot, and Crash (pr); GussieRivals Jonah (pr); Their Social Splash (pr); A Bear Affair (pr); Mabel's Wilful Way (pr); Gussie's Backward Way (pr); A Human Hound's Triumph (pr); Our Dare DevilChief (pr); Crossed Love and Swords (pr); Mis Fatty'sSeaside Lover (pr); He Wouldn't Stay Down (pr); ForBetter—But Worse (pr); A Versatile Villain (pr); ThoseCollege Girls (pr); Mabel Lost and Won (pr); Those BitterSweets (pr); The Cannon Ball (pr); A Home-BreakingHound (pr); Foiled by Fido (pr); Court House Crooks (pr); When Ambrose Dared Walrus (pr); Dirty Work in a Laundry (pr); Fido's Tin-Type Tangle (pr); A Lover's LostControl (pr); A Rascal of Wolfish Ways (pr); The Battle ofAmbrose and Walrus (pr); Only a Messenger Boy (pr); Caught in the Act (pr); His Luckless Love (pr); ViewingSherman Institute for Indians at Riverside (pr); Wished onMabel (pr); Gussie's Wayward Path (pr); Settled at theSeaside (pr); Gussie Tied to Trouble (pr); A Hash HouseFraud (pr); Merely a Married Man (pr); A Game OldKnight (pr); Her Painted Hero (pr); Saved by Wireless (pr); Fickle Fatty's Fall (pr); His Father's Footsteps (pr); TheBest of Enemies (pr); A Janitor's Wife's Temptation (pr); AVillage Scandal (pr); The Great Vacuum Robbery (pr); Crooked to the End (pr); Fatty and the Broadway Stars (pr, role); A Submarine Pirate (pr); The Hunt (pr)


The Worst of Friends (pr); Dizzy Heights and Daring Hearts (pr); The Great Pearl Tangle (pr); Fatty and Mabel Adrift (pr); Because He Loved Her (pr); A Modern Enoch Arden (pr); Perils of the Park (pr); A Movie Star (pr); HisHereafter (pr); He Did and He Didn't (Love and Lobsters) (pr); Love Will Conquer (pr); His Pride and Shame (pr); Fido's Fate (pr); Better Late than Never (pr); Bright Lights (pr); Cinders of Love (pr); Wife and Auto Troubles (pr); TheJudge (pr); A Village Vampire (pr); The Village Blacksmith (pr); A Love Riot (pr); Gipsy Joe (pr); By Stork Delivery (pr); An Oily Scoundrel (pr); A Bathhouse Blunder (pr); HisWife's Mistake (pr); His Bread and Butter (pr); His LastLaugh (pr); Bucking Society (pr); The Other Man (pr); TheSnow Cure (pr); A Dash of ourage (pr); The Lion and theGirl (pr); His Bitter Pill (pr); Her Marble Heart (pr); Bathtub Perils (pr); The Moonshiners (pr); Hearts andSparks (pr); His Wild Oats (pr); Ambrose's Cup of Woe (pr); The Waiter's Ball (pr); The Surf Girl (pr); A SocialClub (pr); Vampire Ambrose (pr); The Winning Punch (pr); His Lying Heart (pr); She Loved a Sailor (pr); His AutoRuination (pr); Ambrose's Rapid Rise (pr); His BustedTrust (pr); Tugboat Romeos (pr); Sunshine (pr); Her Feathered Nest (pr); No One to Guide Him (pr); Her First Beau (pr); His First False Step (pr); The Houseboat (pr); The FireChief (pr); Love on Skates (pr); His Alibi (pr); Love Comet (pr); A la Cabaret (pr); Haystacks and Steeples (pr); AScoundrel's Toll (pr); The Three Slims (p); The Girl Guardian (pr); Wings and Wheels (pr); Safety First Ambrose (pr); Maid Mad (pr); The Twins (pr); Piles of Perils (pr); ACream Puff Romance (pr); The Danger Girl (pr); Bombs (pr); His Last Scent (pr); The Manicurist (pr)


The Nick of Time Baby (pr); Stars and Bars (pr); Maggie'sFirst False Step (pr); Villa of the Movies (pr); Dodging HisDoom (pr); Her Circus Knight (pr); Her Fame and Shames (pr); Pinched in the Finish (pr); Her Nature Dance (pr); Teddy at the Throttle (pr); Secrets of a Beauty Parlor (pr); AMaiden's Trust (pr); His Naughty Thought (pr); HerTorpedoed Love (pr); A Royal Rogue (pr); Oriental Love (pr); Cactus Nell (pr); The Betrayal of Maggie (pr); Skidding Hearts (pr); The Dog Catcher's Love (pr); WhoseBaby (pr); Dangers of a Bride (pr); A Clever Dummy (pr); She Needed a Doctor (pr); Thirst (pr); His Uncle Dudley (pr); Lost a Cook (pr); The Pawnbroker's Heart (pr); TwoCrooks (pr); A Shanghaied Jonah (pr); His Precious Life (pr); Hula Hula Land (pr); The Late amented (pr); TheSultan's Wife (pr); A Bedroom Blunder (pr); Roping HerRomeo (pr); The Pullman Bride (pr); Are Waitresses Safe (pr); An International Sneak (pr); That Night (pr); TamingTarget Center (pr)


The Kitchen Lady (pr); His Hidden Purpose (pr); Watch YourNeighbors (pr); It Pays to Exercise (pr); Sheriff Nell'sTussle (pr); Those Athletic Girls (pr); Friend Husband (pr); Saucy Madeline (pr); His Smothered Love (pr); The BattleRoyal (pr); Love Loops the Loop (pr); Two Tough Tender-feet (pr); Her Screen Idol (pr); Ladies First (pr); HerBlighted Love (pr); She Loved Him Plenty (pr); The SummerGirls (pr); Mickey (pr); His Wife's Friend (pr); Sleuths (pr); Beware the Boarders (pr); Whose Little Wife Are You (pr); Her First Mistake (pr); Hide and Seek Detectives (pr); TheVillage Chestnut (pr)


Cupid's Day Off (pr); Never Too Old (pr); Rip & Stitch,Tailors (pr); East Lynne with Variations (pr); The VillageSmithy (pr); Reilly's Wash Day (pr); The Foolish Age (pr); The Little Widow (pr); When Love Is Blind (pr); Love'sFalse Faces (pr); Hearts and Flowers (pr); No Mother toGuide Him (pr); Trying to Get Along (pr); Among ThosePresent (pr); Yankee Doodle in Berlin (pr); Why BeachesAre Popular (pr); Treating 'em Rough (pr); A Lady's Tailor (pr); Uncle Tom without the Cabin (pr); The Dentist (pr); Back to the Kitchen (pr); Up in Alf's Place (pr); Salome vs.Shenandoah (pr); His Last False Step (pr); The SpeakEasy (pr)


The Star Boarder (pr); Ten Dollars or Ten Days (pr); GeeWhiz (pr); The Gingham Girl (pr); Down on the Farm (pr); Fresh from the City (pr); Let 'er Go (pr); By Golly (pr); YouWouldn't Believe It (pr); Married Life (pr); The QuackDoctor (pr); Great Scott (pr); Don't Weaken (pr); It's a Boy (pr); Young Man's Fancy (pr); His Youthful Fancy (pr); MyGoodness (pr); Movie Fans (pr); Fickle Fancy (pr); Love,Honor, and Behave (pr); A Fireside Brewer (Home Brew) (pr); Bungalow Troubles (pr)


Dabbling in Art (pr); An Unhappy Finish (pr); On a Summer'sDay (pr); A Small Town Idol (pr, sc); Wedding Bells out ofTune (pr); Officer Cupid (pr); Away from the Steerage (Astray from the Steerage) (pr); Sweetheart Days (pr); Home Talent (pr, sc); She Sighed by the Seaside (pr); HardKnocks and Love Taps (pr); Made in the Kitchen (pr); Calla Cop (pr); Love's Outcast (pr); Molly O (pr, sc)


By Heck (pr); Be Reasonable (pr); Bright Eyes (pr); The DuckHunter (pr); On Patrol (pr); Step Forward (pr); GymnasiumJim (pr); The Crossroads of New York (pr, sc); Oh Daddy! (pr); Home-made Movies (pr); Ma and Pa (pr); Bow Wow (pr); Love and Doughnuts (pr); When Summer Comes (pr)


Suzanna (pr); The Shriek of Araby (pr, sc); Where Is MyWandering Boy This Evening (pr); Nip and Tuck (pr); Pitfalls of a Big City (pr); Skylarking (pr); Down to the Seain Shoes (pr); The Extra Girl (pr, co-sc); Asleep at theSwitch (pr); One Cylinder Love (pr); The Dare-Devil (pr); Flip Flops (pr); Inbad the Sailor (pr)


Ten Dollars or Ten Days (remake, pr); One Spooky Night (pr); Picking Peaches (pr); The Half-Back of Notre Dame (pr); Smile Please (pr); Scarem Much (pr); Shanghaied Ladies (pr); The Hollywood Kid (pr); Flickering Youth (pr); BlackOxfords (pr); The Cat's Meow (pr); Yukon Jake (pr); TheLion and the Souse (pr); His New Mama (pr); Romeo andJuliet (pr); Wall Street Blues (pr); The First Hundred Years (pr); East of the Water Plug (pr, sc); Lizzies of the Field (pr); The Luck of the Foolish (pr); Three Foolish Wives (pr); Little Robinson Corkscrew (pr); The Hansom Cabman (BeCareful) (pr); Riders of the Purple Cows (pr); The ReelVirginian (The West Virginian) (pr); Galloping Bungalows (pr); All Night Long (pr); Love's Sweet Piffle (pr); TheCannon Ball Express (pr); Feet of Mud (pr); Off His Trolley (pr); Bull and Sand (pr); Watch Out (pr); Over Here (pr); The Lady Barber (pr); North of 57 (pr); Love's Intrigue (pr); The Stunt Man (pr)


The Sea Squaw (pr); The Plumber (pr); The Wild GooseChaser (pr); Honeymoon Hardships (pr); Boobs in theWoods (pr); The Beloved Bozo (pr); Water Wagons (pr); HisMarriage Wow (pr); The Raspberry Romance (pr); BashfulJim (pr); Giddap (pr); Plain Clothes (pr); Breaking the Ice (pr); The Marriage Circus (pr); The Lion's Whiskers (pr); Remember When (pr); He Who Gets Smacked (pr); Skinnersin Silk (pr); Good Morning, Nurse! (pr); Super-Hooper-Dyne Lizzies (pr); Don't Tell Dad (pr); Isn't Love Cuckoo (pr); Sneezing Breezes (pr); Cupid's Boots (pr); Tee for Two (pr); The Iron Nag (pr); Lucky Stars (pr); Cold Turkey (pr); Butter Fingers (pr); There He Goes (pr); Hurry, Doctor (pr); A Rainy Knight (pr); Love and Kisses (pr); ver There-Abouts (pr); Good Morning, Madam (pr); A Sweet Pickle (pr); Dangerous Curves Behind (pr); The Soapsuds Lady (pr); Take Your Time (pr); The Window Dummy (pr); FromRags to Britches (pr); Hotsy Toty (pr)


The Gosh-Darn Mortgage (pr); Wide Open Faces (pr); HotCakes for Two (pr); Whispering Whiskers (pr); SaturdayAfternoon (pr); Funnymooners (pr); Trimmed in Gold (pr); Gooseland (pr); Circus Today (pr); Meet My Girl (pr); Spanking Breezes (pr); Wandering Willies (pr); Hooked atthe Altar (pr); A Love Sundae (pr); Soldier Man (pr); TheGhost of Folly (pr); Fight Night (pr); Hayfoot, Strawfoot (pr); A Yankee Doodle Dude (pr); Muscle-bound Music (pr); Oh, Uncle! (pr); Puppy Lovetime (pr); Ice Cold Cocos (pr); A Dinner Jest (pr); A Sea Dog's Tale (pr); Baby's Pets (pr); A Bachelor Butt-in (pr); Smith's Baby (pr); Alice BeGood (pr); When a Man's a Prince (pr); Smith's Vacation (pr); Hubby's Quiet Little Game (pr); Her Actor Friend (p); Hoboken to Hollywood (pr); The Prodigal Bridegroom (pr); The Perils of Petersboro (pr); Smith's Landlord (pr); Love's Last Laugh (pr); Smith's Visitor (pr); Should Husbands Marry (pr); Masked Mamas (pr); A Harem Knight (pr); Smith's Uncle (pr); Hesitating Houses (pr); The DivorceDodger (pr); A Blonde's Revenge (pr); Flirty Four-Flushers (pr); Smith's Picnic (pr)


Kitty from Killarney (pr); Smith's Pets (pr); Should Sleepwalkers Marry (pr); Pass the Dumpling (pr); A HollywoodHero (pr); Smith's Customer (pr); Peaches and Plumbers (pr); Plumber's Daughter (pr); A Small-Town Princess (pr); A Dozen Socks (pr); The Jolly Jilter (pr); Smith'sSurprise (pr); Smith's New Home (pr); Broke in China (pr); Smith's Kindergarten (pr); Crazy to Act (pr); Smith FishingTrip (pr); His First Flame (pr); Pride of Pickeville (pr); Cured in the Excitement (pr); Catalina, Here I Come (pr); The Pest of Friends (pr); Love's Languid Lure (pr); CollegeKiddo (pr); Smith's Candy Shop (pr); The Golf Nut (pr); Smith's Pony (pr); A Gold Digger of Weepah (pr); Smith'sCook (pr); Daddy Boy (pr); For Sale a Bungalow (pr); Smith's Cousin (pr); The Bull Fighter (pr); Fiddlesticks (pr); Smith's Modiste Shop (pr); The Girl from Everywhere (pr); Love in a Police Station (pr); Hold that Pose (pr)


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Blue of the Night (pr); The Wrestlers (A Wrestler's Bride) (pr); Don't Play Bridge with Your Wife (pr); The Singing Boxer (pr); Too Many Highballs (pr); Easy on the Eyes (pr); AFatal Glass of Beer (pr); Caliente Love (pr); Sing, Bing,Sing (pr); The Plumber and the Lady (pr); Sweet Cookie (pr); The Pharmacist (pr); Uncle Jake (pr); Dream Stuff (pr); Roadhouse Queen (pr); See You Tonight (pr); DaddyKnows Best (pr); Knockout Kisses (pr); Husband's Reunion (pr); The Big Fibber (pr); The Barber Shop (pr)


Hollywood Cavalcade (role)


Down Memory Lane (role)


By SENNETT: book—

Mack Sennett: King of Comedy, as Told to Cameron Shipp, New York, 1954.

By SENNETT: article—

Interview with T. Dreiser, in Photoplay (New York), August 1928.

On SENNETT: books—

Lejeune, C.A., Mack Sennett, London, 1931.

Fowler, Gene, Father Goose: The Story of Mack Sennett, New York, 1934.

Chevallier, Jacques, Le Cinéma burlesque américain, 1912–30, Paris, 1964.

Turconi, David, Mack Sennett, Paris, 1966.

Geduld, Harry M., editor, Film Makers on Filmmaking, Bloomington, Indiana, 1967.

Lahue, Kalton C., Dreams for Sale: The Rise and Fall of the TriangleFilm Corporation, New York, 1971.

Lahue, Kalton C., Mack Sennett's Keystone: The Man, the Myth, andthe Comedies, South Brunswick, New Jersey, 1971.

Pratt, George C., Spellbound in Darkness, Greenwich, Connecticut, 1973.

Mast, Gerald, The Comic Mind: Comedy and the Movies, Chicago, 1974; revised edition, 1979.

Sherk, Warren M., The Films of Mack Sennett: Credit Documentationfrom the Mack Sennett Collection at the Margaret Herrick Library, Lanham, Maryland, 1997.

On SENNETT: articles—

Carr, H.C., "Mack Sennett—Laugh Tester," in Photoplay (New York), May 1915.

Carr, H., "The Secret of Making Film Comedies," in Motion PictureClassic (Brooklyn), October 1925.

Manners, D., "Defense of Low-Brow Comedy," in Motion PictureClassic (Brooklyn), October 1930.

Agee, James, "Comedy's Greatest Era," in Life (New York), 5 September 1949.

Knight, Arthur, "Era of Great Comedians," in the Saturday Review (New York), 18 December 1954.

Dyer, Peter John, "Cops, Custard, and Keaton," in Films andFilming (London), August 1958.

"Sennett Issue" of Cinéma (Paris), August/September 1960.

"Sennett Issue" of Image et Son (Paris), April 1964.

Durgnat, Raymond, "The World of Comedy: Breaking the Laugh Barrier," in Films and Filming (London), October 1965.

Giroux, Robert, "Mack Sennett," in Films in Review (New York), December 1968.

Hoffner, J.R., "King of Keystone," in Classic Film Collector (Indiana, Pennsylvania), Summer 1971.

Bodeen, Dewitt, "All the Sad Young Bathing Beauties," in Focus onFilm (London), Autumn 1974.

Griffithiana (Stockholm), vol. 6, no. 12–15, October 1983.

Cherchi Usai, P., "Sennett, Arbuckle e l'etica della volgarità," in Segnocinema (Vicenza), vol. 4, no. 11, January 1984.

"Mack Sennett Section" of Cinema Nuovo (Bari), April 1984.

Stempel, T., "The Sennett Screenplays," in Sight and Sound (London), Winter 1985/86.

Landrot, M., "La crème du burlesque," in Télérama (Paris), no. 2311, 27 April 1994.

Adamson, Joe, "Smith's Restaurant: A Case Study in the Sennett Method," in Griffithiana (Stockholm), vol. 18, no. 53, May 1995.

* * *

Mack Sennett was the outstanding pioneer and primitive of American silent comedy. Although Sennett's name is most commonly associated with the Keystone Company, which he founded in 1912, Sennett's film career began four years earlier with the Biograph Company, the pioneering film company where D.W. Griffith established the principles of film narrative and rhetoric. Sennett and Griffith were colleagues and contemporaries, and Sennett served as actor, writer, and assistant under Griffith in 1908 and 1909. In 1910 he began his career as director of his own films under Griffith's supervision.

Sennett became associated with comic roles and comic films from the beginning under Griffith. In his first major role for Griffith, The Curtain Pole in 1908, Sennett played a comically drunk Frenchman who visits chaos upon all he meets in a desperate race through town to replace a broken curtain rod. The film contains several traits that would become associated with the mature Sennett style: the breathless chase, the reduction of human beings to venal stereotypes, the reduction of human society and its physical surroundings to chaotic rubble, and a fondness for games concerning the cinema mechanism itself, manifested in the use of accelerated (by undercranking) and reverse motion. In other roles for Griffith, Sennett consistently played the comic rube or dumb servant—roles that took advantage of Sennett's shambling bulk and oafish facial expressions.

According to legend, Sennett founded the Keystone Company when he conned his bookies, Adam Kessel and Charles Bauman, to go double or nothing on his gambling debts and stake him to a film company. Kessel and Bauman, however, had been out of the bookmaking business and in the moviemaking business for at least five years as owners of Thomas Ince's flourishing New York Motion Picture Company. Between late 1912 and early 1914, Sennett assembled a troupe of the finest raucous physical comedians and burlesque clowns in the film business. From Biograph he brought the pretty Mabel Normand, who was also an extremely agile and athletic physical comedienne, and the loony Ford Sterling, with his biggesturing burlesque of villainy and lechery. Among the other physical comedians he found in those years were the burly Mack Swain, the tiny Chester Conklin, the round Fatty Arbuckle, and the cross-eyed Ben Turpin. He also discovered such future comic stars as Charles Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Harry Langdon, as well as the future director of sound comedies, Frank Capra. Perhaps more important than any artistic contribution was Sennett's managerial ability to spot comic talent and give it the opportunity to display itself.

At the root of Sennett's comic style was the brash, the vulgar, and the burlesque. His films parodied the serious film and stage hits of the day, always turning the serious romance or melodrama into outrageous nonsense. There were no serious moral, psychological, or social issues in Sennett films, simply raucous burlesque of social or emotional material. His short comedies were exuberantly impolite and often made public jokes out of ethnic, sexual, or racial stereotypes. Among the characters around whom he built film series were the Germans Meyer and Heinie, the Jewish Cohen, and the black Rastus. Many of these films were so brashly vulgar in their stereotypical humor that they cannot be shown in public today. As indicators of social attitudes of the 1910s, these films seem to suggest that the still largely immigrant American society of that time was more willing to make and respond to jokes openly based on ethnic and sexist stereotypes than they are today in an era of greater sensitivity to the potential harm of these stereotypes. In defense of Sennett's making sport of ethnic types, it must be said that the method and spirit was consistent with his films' refusal to take any social or psychological matters seriously.

Sennett's Keystone films were extremely improvisational; a typical formula was to take a camera, a bucket of whitewash, and four clowns (two male, two female) out to a park and make a movie. Sennett's aesthetic was not so much an art that conceals art but an art that derides art. His many Keystone films reveal the same contempt for orderly, careful, well-crafted art that one can see in the Marx Brothers' Paramount films or W.C. Fields's Universal films two decades later. The one conscious artistic tool which Sennett exploited was speed—keeping the actors, the action, the gags, the machines, and the camera in perpetual speeding motion. The typical Keystone title might be something like Love, Speed, and Thrills or Love, Loot, and Crash.

Among other Sennett inventions were the Keystone Kops, a burlesque of attempts at social order, and the Bathing Beauties, a burlesque of attempts at pornographic sexuality. Sennett served his apprenticeship in the American burlesque theater, and he brought to the Keystone films that same kind of entertainment which took place at the intersection of vulgar lunacy and comic pornography.

Sennett's most memorable films include a series of domestic films starring Mabel Normand, married either to Fatty Arbuckle or Charlie Chaplin; a series of films pairing the beefy Mack Swain and the diminutive Chester Conklin; a series featuring Ben Turpin as a cross-eyed burlesque of romantic movie stars; a series built around remarkably athletic automobiles and rampaging jungle beasts starring Billy Bevan; and a series of short films featuring the pixieish child-clown Harry Langdon. Sennett also produced and personally directed the first comic feature film produced in America (or anywhere else), Tillie's Punctured Romance, starring Chaplin, Normand, and stage comedienne Marie Dressler in her first film role.

Sennett ceased to direct films after 1914, becoming the producer and overseer of every comic film made by his company for the next two decades. Although the Keystone Company folded by the late 1910s, Sennett's immensely long filmography is a testament to the sheer number of comic films he produced, well into the sound era. Sennett's real importance to film history, however, derives from that crucial historical moment between 1912 and 1915, a period when a comic assumption, the evolution of film technique, and a collection of talented physical clowns all came together under Sennett's stewardship to create a unique and memorable type of comedy that has assumed its place not only in the history of cinema, but in the much longer history of comedy itself.

—Gerald Mast

Mack Sennett

views updated Jun 27 2018

Mack Sennett

The American silent-screen producer and director Mack Sennett (1884-1960) is frequently considered the originator of film comedy. He perfected the art of silent-screen slapstick in his "Keystone" series.

Mack Sennett was born Michael Sinnott on Jan. 17, 1884, in Quebec, Canada. He emigrated to New York at the beginning of the 20th century to act in films by D. W. Griffith. Not very successful, Sennett turned to movie direction, and his first two efforts, Comrade (1911) and One-round O'Brien (1912), were so popular that sequels were immediately demanded. Assured of financial backing, he formed his own organization, the Keystone Company, and moved to Hollywood, Calif.

During the first year Sennett produced 140 "Keystone Comedies," the most famous of which were Uncle Tom without the Cabin and Salome vs. Shenandoah. Unable to direct every comedy personally, Sennett supplied himself with a talented crew of gag writers, comedians, cameramen, and stunt men. At the completion of each film, he would attend the final screening and perfect the structure and timing through careful editing. All of these films were made so that, in projection, the action was faster than life.

Sennett's comic philosophy is perhaps best expressed in his comments on the Italian folk form commedia dell'arte: "The round, fat girls in nothing much doing their bumps and grinds, the German-dialect comedians, and especially the cops and tramps with their bed-slats and ladders appealed to me as being funny people. Their approach to life was earthy and understandable. They made fun of themselves and of the human race. They reduced convention, dogma, stuffed shirts … to nonsense, and then blossomed into pandemonium…. I especially enjoyed the reduction of authority to absurdity, the notion that sex could be funny, and the bold insults that were hurled at pretension."

The Sennett films defied logic and gravity in their epic chases and wild pie-throwing contests. In a Sennett comedy it was not unusual for a bandit to rob a bank with a vacuum cleaner or for a flood to carry a man out of his house in a bathtub. The Sennett Bathing Beauties, which featured such curvaceous creatures as Louise Fazenda and Gloria Swanson, added a touch of sexual delight to the then puritanical American film. Sennett's comedies, when they are at their best, are a combination of impudent satire, vulgar burlesque, and exhilarated madness.

The tragedy of Sennett's career was the arrival of sound in movies in the late 1920s; he was unable and unwilling to adjust to its demands. In 1928 Sennett permanently closed his studio. That same year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the classic innovator a special award, "for his lasting contribution to the comedy technique of the screen." He died on Nov. 6, 1960, in Woodland Hills, Calif.

Further Reading

The standard biography of Sennett is Cameron Shipp, King of Comedy (1954). Excellent critical studies of the film maker's work are in Gilbert Seldes, The Seven Lively Arts (1924); James Agee, Agee on Film (1958); Edward C. Wagenknecht, The Movies in the Age of Innocence (1962); and Kenneth McGowan, Behind the Screen (1965).

Additional Sources

Sennett, Mack, King of comedy, San Francisco: Mercury House;St. Paul, Minn.: Distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, 1990. □

Sennett, Mack

views updated Jun 27 2018

Sennett, Mack (1884–1960) US film director, producer, and actor whose many short, slapstick comedies enlivened the age of silent films. Films made by his Keystone Company brought fame to Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Fatty Arbuckle, and the Keystone Kops.