The Pullman Bride featuring Mack Sennett's "Bathing Beauties"

date 1917
by Clarence G. Badger, director; Gloria Swanson, actress
medium Film Still

Comedy pioneer Mack Sennett was best known for his rollicking and outrageous slapstick comedies, which often included the bumbling antics of his Keystone cops and such vaudeville comedy stunts as the pie-in-the-face gag. Particularly popular were Sennett’s "bathing beauties," a group of young starlets who appeared bare-legged in Sennett’s comedies. The sex appeal of these young actresses raised the ire of some temperance activists, and Sennett received hundreds of letters protesting his exploitation of these women’s bodies. Despite such protests, the bathing beauties remained quite popular and served as a springboard for many Hollywood stars, including Gloria Swanson. In 1917, Swanson was coupled with comedian Mack Swain for the Sennett comedy The Pullman Bride.