Twelve Shorts for the Shortest Month #8: Katchem Kate (1912)

US / 11 minutes / bw / Biograph, General Film Company Dir: Mack Sennett Scr: Dell Henderson Cine: Percy Higginson Cast: Mabel Normand, Fred Mace, Jack Pickford, Vivian Prescott, Anthony O’Sullivan, Frank Opperman, Sylvia Ashton

An early Mack Sennett silent that’s of interest because it can be read as a precursor of the Keystone Cops comedies and because it offers one of the first onscreen examples of the trope of the female detective outwitting her male counterparts. That may not seem like such a big deal today, but remember that in 1912 women weren’t considered intelligent enough to be entrusted with the vote.

Fed up with her dreary job at a dry cleaner, Kate (Normand) comes across a newspaper ad for a detective school, the Alert Detective Agency, and decides this is the future for her. The school, in the event, turns out to have Continue reading