30 September 2018 | boblipton
Just For The Halibut
Dell Henderson goes fishing every day and can't catch anything larger than a sprat. Edward Dillon teases him about this. Angered, Dell tells Dillon he may not see his daughter, Mary Pickford (credited here, at the elderly age of 20, as "The Woman"). The next day, on their way to plead for their love, they find Dell asleep at the rod and an immense halibut for sale in a fish shop.
Before he was lured off to form Keystone and his own career as a film magnate, Mack Sennett spent a four-year apprenticeship at Biograph, working for D.W. Griffith as writer, actor and director of eighty or ninety short comedies. They were not wild slapstick comedies, but far more genteel efforts in which normal-looking people would do almost normal things to get what they wanted -- in this case, Eddie Dillon and Mary Pickford. Under the direction of some one like Griffith, movies like this one could be charming, effervescent and even telling in some way of society's problems. Mack admired Griffith, he learned from him, he respected him and throughout his life referred to him as "The Master." He just didn't want to make that sort of movie. He wanted to make people laugh, and the best way he knew was by being outrageous.
This this movie is interesting in showing this stage of Sennett's development. It's interesting to see Mary Pickford in a movie where she is upstaged by a dead fish. It's just not terribly funny once you've figured out the one joke that is available in half a reel of film.