Cast & Crew
Mickey, an orphan, is brought up in the California mining country by her father's mining partner, Joe Meadows, and his housekeeper Minnie, an old Indian woman. A tomboy whose chief occupation is getting into trouble, Mickey nonetheless endears herself to all who meet her, particularly Herbert Thornhill, a New York millionaire who has been called out West on business. Mickey's socially ambitious but penniless aunt, Mrs. Geoffrey Drake, learns that Mickey owns a gold mine, so invites the girl to live in her lavish estate on Long Island, but when Joe reveals that the mine is worthless, Mickey is forced to become a servant. Believing that Mickey has deserted him, Herbert becomes engaged to Mrs. Drake's daughter Elsie, while the brutish Reggie Drake showers unwelcome attentions on Mickey. One evening, however, Herbert bumps into Mickey as she is fleeing from Reggie, and they renew their romance. Herbert's lawyer, Tom Rawlings, realizing his client's predicament, informs Herbert that he has lost his millions, whereupon Elsie breaks their engagement, and after Reggie's plan to ruin Herbert and force Mickey into marriage fails, the Eastern businessman and his Western tomboy marry.
Minnie Ha Ha
Normand, who co-starred in successful movies with Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle more than a dozen times each, occasionally wrote and directed her own movies and was considered instrumental in helping Chaplin develop his appeal as a film personality. At the height of her career in the late 1910s, Sennett established the Mabel Normand Feature Film Company. Normand even had her own studio. But the only film made by her production company was the silent feature Mickey (1918).
In the meantime Normand's plans to wed Sennett had exploded in 1915 when he began a relationship with actress Mae Busch. According to some sources, during an argument over the romantic entanglements Busch hit Normand in the head with a vase and caused a serious injury. Whatever the cause, Normand reportedly spent several weeks in a hospital critically injured and later became addicted to heroin and cocaine to ease the lingering pain. Her romance with Sennett was clearly over.
Even so, their professional relationship remained profitable, and Mickey became Normand's biggest success at the box office as well as the highest-grossing film of 1918. Sennett claimed that it grossed $18 million, a fortune in its day, although some suspected him of inflating the figure, which may have been closer to $8 million.
Many critics also consider Mickey to be Normand's most artistically successful movie, and it was one of the last in which her health was stable (although she would continue in films through 1927, working for Sennett, Samuel Goldwyn and others). She plays the title role, the orphaned daughter of a down-on-his-luck gold miner who is sent to live with a mean, snooty aunt and finds herself in an awkward romantic triangle involving her cousin (the nasty aunt's daughter) and another mining man.
Mickey, a child of nature, has a natural affinity with creatures -- dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, even squirrels -- and enjoys a nude diving scene (filmed with a long lens, of course). A theme song for the character, Mickey by Neil Moret and Harry Williams, became quite famous on its own and was recorded by a number of singers and bands.
Mickey blends a sense of drama with its humor. Sennett understood the subtleties of Normand's rather childlike yet lightly ironic screen character, which usually had a touch of Cinderella. He allowed her films to have a more gentle tone than his more frenetic slapstick comedies. It was vehicles like this that led Normand to be remembered as the silent era's "First Lady of Comedy."
The film was written by J.G. Hawks and directed by F. Richard Jones and James Young, with Normand and Sennett listed as producers. The advertising included the banner "Mack Sennett presents..." The supporting cast includes George Nichols, Minnie Devereaux, Tom Kennedy, Edgar Kennedy, Wheeler Oakman, Minta Durfee (then married to "Fatty" Arbuckle) and Lew Cody (who would later marry Normand).
Producer: Mabel Normand, Mack Sennett
Director: F. Richard Jones, James Young
Screenplay: J.G. Hawks (writer)
Cinematography: Fred Jackman, Hans F. Koenekamp, Hugh McClung, Frank D. Williams
Film Editing: John O'Donnell
Cast: Mabel Normand (Mickey), George Nichols (Joe Meadows), Wheeler Oakman (Herbert Thornhill), Minta Durfee (Elsie Drake), Laura La Varnie (Mrs. Geoffrey Drake), Lewis Cody (Reggie Drake), Tom Kennedy (Tom Rawlings), Minnie Ha Ha (Minnie).
by Roger Fristoe
Rehearsals for this film began on May 15, 1916. Modern sources note that filming stopped in the fall of 1916 because of Mabel Normand's illness, that the film was completed and ready for distribution by the spring of 1917, but that it was not released until August 11, 1918. Western Import Co. owned the world rights to the film in 1918 and by July 1918 had made arrangements for W. H. Productions Co. to distribute it to the state rights market.
Some sources credit Mack Sennett with direction and writing. Hampton Del Ruth, the managing editor and assistant manager of production of the Keystone Film Co., was involved in the pre-production stage of this film, according to a news item. Minnie Ha Ha, an American Indian actress in the film, was also known as Minnie Provost. A song entitled "Mickey," lyrics by Harry Williams, music by Neil Moret, was published by Daniels & Wilson early in 1918, and was used as the theme in the music score. According to modern sources, J. G. Hawks wrote the scenario, Edgar Kennedy played the role of a bookie, and William Colvin appeared as the butler.