This 108 year old movie was a lot of fun to research and learn about. Just 13 minutes in length, Race for a Life tells the tale of a fair maiden chained to the railroad tracks by a spurned villain and cad in the best melodramatic, indeed, over-the-top fashion.
The star of the show was AT&SF #492, a 4-6-0 oil-burning, passenger steam engine built by the Rhode Island Locomotive Works in 1900.
Filmed along the Santa Fe Railway in and around Inglewood, California, I was actually able to obtain a picture of the depot used in filming and AT&SF #492 in more contemporary times.
There’s even an early scene of what became known as the “Keystone Kops” pedaling along furiously to the rescue on a railroad handcar. C’mon, let’s take a closer look at this ancient, silent flicker.
Damsel-in-distress Mabel Normand breaks the fourth wall and stares into the camera as she remains firmly affixed to the right-of-way. Poor Mabel. Will no one save her?