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The Extra Girl (1923) / The Gusher (1913) (1923)

Mabel Normand , Ford Sterling , Mack Sennett  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mabel Normand, Ford Sterling, Keystone Kops
  • Directors: Mack Sennett
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: KINO INTERNATIONAL
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 2008
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0016A2FGU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,587 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

In 1923, slapstick pioneer Mack Sennett conceived and produced a feature-length film designed to showcase the homespun appeal and comedic prowess of Mabel Normand, who had been a fixture on the madcap screen for more than a decade. THE EXTRA GIRL follows the misadventures of Sue Graham, a small-town lass who escapes her romantic entanglements by heading for the green pastures of Hollywood. Sue quickly discovers that the dream factory is just a factory like any other, as she is assigned to duty in the wardrobe department. But through pluck and ambition, she manages to overcome every setback, including one hair-raising sequence in which she accidentally unleashes a man-eating lion on the studio backlot.

This Kino DVD also includes the rare 1913 short THE GUSHER, mastered from an archival 35mm print with the original color tints. Set in the oil fields of California, it follows the efforts of a wily con artist to defraud a yokel (Ford Sterling) and his bride-to-be (Normand). This short also stars The Keystone Cops.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of Mabel Normand's Best! June 4, 2008
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It has taken quite a while for THE EXTRA GIRL to make it to commercial DVD and now that it's finally here, we should all be grateful. But with that gratitude there should be some sadness as well for this 1923 film was the beginning of the end for one of the silent era's most gifted performers. Mabel Normand (1892-1930) began her career as a model for Charles Dana Gibson before breaking into films with Biograph in 1909. She moved over to Vitagraph and then left to be with Mack Sennett at Keystone in 1912.

In addition to being the silent era's greatest comedienne she was among the first women to write and direct her own material. She also directed Chaplin and Roscoe Arbuckle but was never given credit for it. She successfully moved from shorts to feature films before her run of bad luck began. Implicated but never charged in a series of scandals including the unsolved murder of director William Desmond Taylor, Mabel's career as a star unraveled during the 1920's. Drugs and alcohol aggravated the tuberculosis she had lived with for many years and she died at the age of 37 right at the dawn of the sound era.

Her association with Chaplin, Arbuckle, and the Keystone Kops have kept her face before the public but so little of her other work has survived and almost none of it is on DVD. This Kino International release of THE EXTRA GIRL along with the 1913 Keystone one reeler THE GUSHER will certainly help. It also shows how much the nature of American film comedy evolved over 10 years. The visual quality of this disc taken from a 1969 Killiam Collection print is excellent with an organ soundtrack provided by Jack Ward that is above average for Killiam.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Mabel! July 18, 2008
Kino has released THE EXTRA GIRL under its Slapstick Symposium banner, but the humor in this appealing 1923 Mack Sennett feature has little in common with the crazed tumult of his classic slapstick shorts. THE EXTRA GIRL is controlled comedy, "conceived and produced" by Sennett, the notes tell us, to "showcase" the talents of Mabel Normand. (Phyllis Haver was initially being showcased; she had already done some work on the film when Normand stepped in as her replacement.) Sennett, we know, free of his Triangle-Keystone obligations, was eager to produce feature-length films and serious about proving that Mabel Normand was capable of more than a superlative pratfall.

Was she ever! In THE EXTRA GIRL she is winsome, charming, romantic, petulant, disappointed, torn, remorseful, terrified, determined--and funny. We may miss, for a minute or two, the softer, daffier, more explosive Mabel of the Arbuckle Keystones, but that Mabel was suited to the episodic two-reeler. Structured narratives thrive on character development. THE EXTRA GIRL could easily have been presented as a straight (and somewhat pedestrian) drama; the plot elements are all in place. (The 1969 organ score by Jack Ward suggests just such an approach.) It is Mabel's light touch and perfect timing that bring the story to life and let her exploit the comic potential of each situation. (The comedy generally evaporates, it must be said, when she is offscreen.)

The bonus short, "The Gusher," made by Sennett in 1913, shows us a healthier, perhaps happier Mabel playing second banana to Ford Sterling. What changes a decade would bring!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mabel in her prime and also at the beginning April 4, 2008
The Extra Girl (1923, 68 min.)
Mabel plays Sue Graham, a small-town girl whose picture is mixed up with that of a much prettier girl that a movie studio decides they want to put under contract. When Sue arrives on the scene the studio discovers its mistake and assigns Sue to the props department. Sue does overcome adversity, but not before she mistakes a dog dressed as a lion for an actual lion and her parents come out to Hollywood for a visit and end up exchanging their life's savings for some worthless oil stock. Note Vernon Dent, later of the Columbia comic shorts and specifically the Three Stooges series, as Sue's unwanted suitor.

"The Extra Girl" is one of the more charming silent films I have enjoyed recently, and it's too bad Mabel Normand is remembered more for the Hollywood scandals of the roaring 20's than her charming comic persona in silent films. Her frequent costar, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, suffered a much worse fate - the end of his career - over a crime of which he was acquitted. Like The Primitive Lover, I'm surprised more people haven't seen this film. Check it out, you won't regret it. The print is in very good shape, and detail is clearly visible. There are only a few signs of deterioration towards the middle of the film.

The two-reel short, "The Gusher", is one of 64 short comedy films Mabel Normand cranked out in 1913. This frantic pace of comic filmmaking, along with the constant injuries before the days of stuntmen, is among the reasons that so many of the early silent comics had substance abuse problems - they were pretty much all dealing with working constantly and while injured.
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