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Daisy Doodad's Dial (1914)


Main image of Daisy Doodad's Dial (1914)
35mm, black and white, silent, 580 feet
DirectorFlorence Turner
Production CompanyTurner Film Company

Cast: Florence Turner (Daisy Doodad); Larry Trimble (Husband)

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Daisy and her husband decide to enter a face-pulling competition, but Daisy is infuriated when she is unable to enter because of a toothache and her husband wins the competition in her absence.

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This wonderfully daft comedy, released in 1914, was directed by and starred Florence Turner (1885-1946), one of the earliest stars of American cinema with the Vitagraph Company of America (she was the first 'Vitagraph Girl', working frequently with pioneer Edwin S. Porter), who came to Britain and made a number of shorts and features for her own Turner Film Company between 1913 and 1916.

Daisy Doodad's Dial was Turner's only directorial credit, and also starred her manager Larry Trimble (who bears a striking resemblance to former US President Bill Clinton). She returned to the US in 1925, where she continued to appear in films, including Buster Keaton's College (US, 1927), but without her earlier status.

The narrative concerns the efforts of a couple competing in a face-pulling contest. On the day of the contest, Daisy is laid up with toothache, and her husband wins first prize. A second contest gives Daisy the chance to get her own back, but on the train to the event, her practising alarms her fellow passangers...

Daisy Doodad derives its humour from the heroine's infinintely malleable face, while further entertainment value comes from her mild subversion of expected feminine behaviour.

Mark Duguid

*An extract from this film is featured as part of 'How They Laughed', Paul Merton's interactive guide to early British silent comedy. The film can also be downloaded in its entirety from the BFI's Creative Archive. Note that this material is not limited to users in registered UK libraries and educational establishments: it can be accessed by anyone within the UK under the terms of the Creative Archive Licence.

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