Helen Holmes


Directed by                Mack Sennett
Produced by              Keystone Film Company
Starring                     Mack Sennett, Mabel Normand, Ford Sterling, Barney Oldfield, Helen Holmes
Cinematography       Lee Bartholomew, Walter Wright
Distributed by           Mutual Film Corporation
Release date               June 3, 1913
Running time             13 min.
Country                      United States
Language                    Silent film, English intertitles


"Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life" is a short comedy directed by Mack Sennett.  The film is included in our program to illustrate the contributions of our star Helen Holmes.


Barney Oldfield was the fastest auto racer in his time. In the film he chases an engine to rescue a girl chained to the tracks by an evil unsuccessful suitor. 

The way Ford Sterling overplays the role of the villain makes one think that the film was conceived as a parody of contemporary melodramas.

This is one of the first roles of Helen Holmes, in which she plays a village beauty. She became the audacious star of "The Hazards of Helen" a year and a half later, acting as the heroine of numerous railroad adventures. She may have gotten inspiration from "Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life" and the race to save Mabel Normand.



Click to enlarge:

Barney Oldfield and Mack Sennett in Barney Oldfields Race for a Life 1913 5

   Barney Oldfield and Mack Sennett