Sunday, November 18, 2018

How to Murder Your Mother-in-Law

A 1911 Pathé comedy Jobard a tué sa belle-mère opens with Jobard (Lucien Cazalis) trying to have a quiet cup of tea while his mother-in-law sit across from him complaining bitterly about the hardness of her chair.

Jobard's wife bring her mother a pillow to sit on, but the mother can see Jobard grimacing over her hysterics and she throws the pillow at his head.

Jobard thinks it would fun to frighten the pesky old woman by dressing up as a ghost.  But the woman becomes so upset by prank that she passes out.  When he fails to revive her, Jobard panics thinking that he has killed the woman.

This is similar to a situation that Harold Lloyd encountered years later in Hot Water (1924).  But, this time, the sheet is on the other head.  Harold plans to get his nagging mother-in-law (Josephine Crowell) out of the way for the evening by sprinkling her dinner napkin with chloroform.  But his mother-in-law has a strong reaction to the chloroform and she passes out on the spot.

Harold desperately tries to revive the woman, but his best efforts fail.

Harold overhears part of a conversation between his wife and brother-in-law and mistakenly concludes that his mother-in-law has died.  Later, when his mother-in-law sleepwalks through the house, Harold believes that she is a ghost that has come back from the dead to haunt him.

One last scare happens in the final moments of the film.


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