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Charlie Chaplin, Vols. 1-8 [8 Discs] [DVD]

  • SKU: 6957368
  • Release Date: 03/30/2004
  • Rating: NR
  • 4.3 (3)
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
4.3
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (3 out of 3)

Special Features

  • Digitally mastered
  • Interactive menus
  • Chapter selections

Synopsis

The Burlesque on Carmen
Burlesque on Carmen was intended by Charlie Chaplin to be a two-reel film, but to his annoyance additional material, shot by Leo White and featuring Ben Turpin, was added for its release after Chaplin left Essanay. It is a parody of two contemporary films based on Bizet's opera, by Cecil B. De Mille (starring opera star Geraldine Farrar) and Raoul Walsh (starring vamp Theda Bara). Chaplin plays Darn Hosiery (Don Jose) the Corporal of the Guard who is seduced by Carmen (engagingly played by Edna Purviance) so that Gypsy smugglers can get their swag through the city gates. His chief rivals for Carmen's affections are Escamillo, the Toreador and a fellow soldier of the guard, Leo White. The interjection of the Turpin sections and the use of outtakes of the Chaplin material makes the plot rather murky. Don Jose is charmed by Carmen and ignores his military duties. He allows the smugglers to enter the city gates but other guards, alerted by his rival White, give chase. Later, as the guards and gypsies struggle at a village gate, Don Jose gets into a duel for Carmen's attentions with White, during which Don Jose engages in some Chaplinesque fencing and wrestling, but aided by Carmen he kills White. Realizing the depth of his deed he pursues Carmen who has taken off out a window. He catches up with her, but the Toreador interrupts his accusations and takes Carmen away. Sometime later they are seen arriving at the bull ring. Don Jose catches up with Carmen and, playing it perfectly straight, he chillingly accuses her of infidelity and when she mocks his love, he stabs her and then himself. They are discovered by the Toreador, but Don Jose revives, mule kicks Escamillo back into the arena and picks up Carmen who also comes back to life. Looking into the camera, they smilingly show the audience the collapsible knife as the camera irises in. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The Tramp
The Tramp, Charlie Chaplin's sixth film for Essanay, is generally considered his first masterpiece. It is the first of his films that blended pathos with comedy and contains subtle pantomime along with the knockabout slapstick. Charlie is truly a tramp in this film, wandering down a dusty country road carrying his bindle. He is knocked down by near misses from two passing autos and pulls a whisk broom from his pocket and dusts himself off. He sits by a tree to eat his lunch, but it is stolen by a hobo (Leo White). Despondent, Charlie salts some grass and eats it. We next meet a farm girl (Edna Purviance) and her father (Fred Goodwins), who gives her some cash and sends her on an errand. She stops on her way to count her money and is robbed by a sinister hobo (Leo White). Her cries bring Charlie, who rescues her from the hobo and two other tramp thieves. The girl brings Charlie home to the farm, where he is rewarded with a job as a farmhand. He is inept at the job, the source of several funny scenes with a fellow farmhand (Paddy McGuire). The three thieving hoboes show up and try to involve Charlie in a scheme to rob the farmer's money. Charlie foils their efforts by hitting them on their heads with a mallet as they reach the top of the ladder that he has set up at his bedroom window. Farmer Fred, alerted by the noise, grabs his shotgun and chases off the crooks, but Charlie gets shot in the leg accidentally. This scene is played completely straight and is utterly convincing as Charlie passes out from the pain. Charlie is next seen recuperating from his injuries, lounging at an outdoor table with the farm girl and squirting seltzer into his drink. But his happiness is short-lived. Her boyfriend (Lloyd Bacon) arrives on the scene and Charlie, seeing that his love for her is unrequited, goes into the farmhouse and writes a note: "i thout your kindness was love but it ain't cause i seen him." He turns his back to the camera and picks up the girl's hat, kisses it, and walks outside. Bidding the two farewell, Charlie refuses the money offered by the boyfriend. The film closes with what would become Chaplin's classic ending -- Charlie walking sadly back along the road, but suddenly putting an optimistic little spring in his step as the camera irises in. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The Masquerader
Charlie Chaplin's 24th short for the Keystone company is a film about making films at Keystone. It is unusual in that we see Chaplin the actor, Charlie the Tramp, and Chaplin's second female impersonation in a film. The film opens outside the Keystone Studio where Chaplin, in street clothes, is talking to Mabel Normand and a reporter, who is writing on a pad. Charlie Murray emerges and grabs Chaplin by the ear and drags him inside -- it's time for work. Murray leaves Chaplin at the dressing room where Fatty Arbuckle is also preparing for work. Chaplin begins by brushing off his Tramp pants. Seated at a dressing table across from Arbuckle he hears Fatty open a beer bottle and tries to sneak a swig, but Fatty substitutes his hair tonic instead. Meanwhile, on the stage, Murray is rehearsing a melodramatic scene with two actors. Chaplin is now in costume as the Tramp. On the set, Charlie misses his entrance because he is flirting with two lovely actresses, and he messes up the scene. He is replaced by fellow actor Chester Conklin, but interferes with Chester's entrance and is chased out of the studios. The next day a "Beautiful Stranger" appears -- it's Charlie in drag, and his female impersonation is perfect. He immediately attracts the attentions of every male in the company, especially director Murray. Murray tries to make time with the stranger and hires her to act in films. He gives her the men's dressing room, amid the objections of all the actors. While Murray's back is turned, Charlie lets us in on the gag by winking at the camera and later takes a very unladylike drag on Murray's cigarette. Alone, Charlie removes his disguise, and resumes his Tramp outfit. When the director comes looking for his new actress, he finds Charlie and discovers his deception. He chases Charlie through the various film sets until Charlie jumps into what he thinks is a prop well. It turns out to be a real one, and the film closes as Murray and the actors mock Charlie as he struggles, sinking, at the bottom of the well. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Between Showers
In his fourth film for Keystone, Charlie Chaplin was assigned for the last time to Henry Lehrman, his first director at Keystone. It was Chaplin's first film with the ostensible star of the film, Ford Sterling, who had announced that he would be leaving Keystone for a more lucrative deal well before Chaplin joined Keystone. Between Showers is the first Chaplin film shot partially at Westlake Park. It shows a few developments of his Tramp character, mostly little bits of "business" that would recur in later films. Sterling plays a womanizer who steals an umbrella from a cop and his girlfriend. He encounters a pretty girl, Emma Clifton, on a street corner who is impeded from crossing the street by a huge puddle. Sterling gives his new umbrella to the girl to hold and goes off to find a piece of lumber for a makeshift bridge. Chaplin, dresses as the Tramp but without the cane, saunters on the scene, and also offers his help. While they're gone, another cop carries the girl over the puddle. Sterling returns and when he asks for his umbrella back, the girl refuses. Sterling attacks her and Chaplin comes to her rescue, although she seems capable of handling both men. A fight sequence through the park ensues, after which Chaplin restores the umbrella to Clifton. It climaxes when Chester Conklin the cop, summoned by Sterling, recognizes the umbrella as his own. Chaplin admits to taking it from Sterling, but Sterling has no alibi and an amused Chaplin watches Conklin haul him off to jail. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Tango Tangles
Tango Tangles is an impromptu Keystone comedy which exploited the current "tango craze." A tango contest and exhibition prompted Mack Sennett to send a crew out to a local dance hall where some of the film was shot. Charlie Chaplin appears in a tuxedo, sans the famous Tramp makeup and costume, as a drunk who flirts with the hat-check girl, and he gets into fights with Ford Sterling and Roscoe Arbuckle, both musicians at the dance hall who are also enamored with her. Although slight in plot, the film is interesting because the three principal Keystone actors appear without comic makeup and because the audience can observe the mirthful reactions of the real dancers in the hall to the comic fight between Chaplin and Sterling. Also of interest is the blending of location and studio footage, noticeable due to differences in lighting and set. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

His Favorite Pastime
In Charles Chaplin's seventh film for the Keystone Company, the Little Fellow's favorite pastime is drinking and chasing women. The film opens in a saloon where Charlie is partaking of a free lunch and teasing a down-on-his-luck Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle who is trying to bum a drink. We see an early Chaplin "transposition" gag when Charlie tries to light a sausage, thinking it's a cigar. After leaving the bar, Charlie accosts beautiful but married Peggy Pierce (with whom Chaplin was involved romantically at the time) as she and her maid wait for her husband to return to their taxi. After being shooed away by the husband, Charlie returns to the saloon and gets into fights with various patrons. In the men's washroom after Charlie polishes his shoes with a towel, he hands the towel to a man who has soap in his eyes, causing him to blacken his face. Exiting the bar again, he follows the maid's taxi home and gets into a melee with the maid, the maid's employer and her employer's irate husband, who, with the aid of his household servants, ejects Charlie from their home. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The New Janitor
In Charlie Chaplin's 27th comedy for Keystone, and arguably his best, he plays not a homeless Tramp, but an inept janitor in a bank. The film is a forerunner of his later Essanay film The Bank. It is the first Chaplin film in which is seen a glimmer of the pathos mixed with comedy that would become his Tramp's defining characteristic. Charlie is first seen in the lobby of the building with his broom and dustpan, being shut out of an elevator ride by a nasty elevator operator. He makes the long climb upstairs and begins his duties cleaning the offices but bungles most of the jobs. Dusting in the president's office he is clearly smitten by lovely stenographer Gene Marsh. She is in love with the manager, which is seen as she caresses his hat hanging outside his office. In that office, the manager receives a note from his bookie who threatens to expose him if he does not pay his gambling debts. He decides to rob the safe in the president's office. Meanwhile, Charlie accidentally dumps a bucket of water out the office window which soaks the president. Enraged, the president rushes upstairs and fires Charlie, who begs for his job. (During a rehearsal of this scene, according to Chaplin's autobiography, Alice Davenport watching from the sidelines found Charlie's protestations so pathetic she burst into tears.) Unable to change the presidents mind, Charlie heads downstairs to the storage room and prepares to leave. When the president and the stenographer leave, the manager sneaks into the president's office and opens the safe. He's caught by the steno who has returned unexpectedly, and the manager attacks her, threatening her with a gun. Just before she faints, she presses a call button which rings in the janitor's storage room. Charlie, after a moment of indecision, makes his way upstairs and, seeing the situation, knocks the gun from the manager's hand. Bending over to pick it up with his back turned, he holds the manager at bay by aiming the gun between his legs. He steps over his arms and goes to the window, firing some shots which quickly brings a cop to the office. The president arrives and when it is assumed that Charlie is the hold-up man, he is apprehended by the cop. The stenographer awakens and identifies Charlie as the real hero, who receives a reward and a handshake for his efforts. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Sunnyside
The Fireman
The second of Charles Chaplin's Mutual two-reelers, The Fireman is virtually wall-to-wall slapstick. Chaplin is an earnest but inept member of a ramshackle small town fire department. His boss, Eric Campbell, has entered into an unhanded deal with the wealthy father of heroine Edna Purviance; the father plans to burn down his house for the insurance and split the settlement with Campbell, provided that the latter does not attempt to extinguish the blaze. Chaplin, of course, knows nothing about this set-up, and when the house catches fire, he rushes to the rescue. And a darn good thing too: Purviance, also unaware of her dad's machinations, is in the house at the time it is torched. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Getting Acquainted
Charlie Chaplin's penultimate Keystone comedy takes us back to the scene of so many of his Keystones, Westlake Park. It is unusual in that it is a story of two married couples with wandering husbands: Charlie and battle-ax Phyllis Allen, and Mack Swain and Mabel Normand. Mack and Mabel, taking the air, spot a stalled sports car which fascinates Mack, who leaves Mabel and goes off to help the driver start it up. Seated on a park bench with Charlie, Phyllis has fallen asleep. A beautiful young woman, Cecile Arnold pauses by the bench, looking for her beau, a mysterious Turk. Charlie flirts with her and is spurned, but he leaves Phyllis asleep and chases after her. When he catches up, the Turk arrives and after a brief confrontation in which he stabs Charlie in the backside, Charlie is chased off. Charlie comes upon Mabel and begins to mash her. Tipping his hat he hooks her skirt with his upside-down cane and raises it above her knees. When she protests, he scolds the cane as if it had a mind of its own. Mack arrives on the scene and doesn't heed Mabel's complaints but introduces her to Charlie, whom he seems to know. Mack leaves them alone to go back to the car, and Charlie persists in mashing Mabel until a cop shows up behind Charlie. Mabel then turns all smiles and winks, hoping Charlie will mash her in the presence of the cop which he does, until the presence of the cop's billy club on his shoulder makes him take to his heels. Meanwhile Mack has come upon Phyllis and begins to mash her. Her cries also bring the cop who chases Mack away. Mabel and Phyllis eventually meet and commiserate with each other about the mashers they've encountered in the park. There follows a series of comedic chases and fights between the cop and Charlie and Mack. While hiding from the cop in the same bushes they are both apprehended and dragged off, but Phyllis and Mabel intercede to save their spouses from the clutches of the police. The two couples reconcile their differences but Charlie still insists on flirting and Phyllis, to Mack and Mabel's amusement, drags him off by the seat of his pants. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Caught in a Cabaret
Charlie Chaplin's 12th film for the Keystone company was also his directorial debut, receiving co-directing credit with co-star, Mabel Normand. Chaplin plays a waiter in a seedy cabaret who is always in trouble with his boss, Edgar Kennedy, and at odds with another waiter, Chester Conklin. While walking his dachshund in a park during his lunch break, he rescues rich-girl Mabel from the clutches of a thief who has chased away her boyfriend, Harry McCoy. Charlie introduces himself as O.T. Axle, Ambassador from Greece, (the first of Chaplin's "impersonation" roles) and is brought home to meet her parents and receive their thanks, much to the chagrin of Mabel's boyfriend. He receives an invitation to return later for a garden party. The suspicious boyfriend follows Charlie back to work and discovers the truth. Back at work Charlie deals with a bullying customer, Mack Swain, by serving him a drink and knocking him out with a large mallet when Swain tilts his head back to drink. Later, at the garden party, Charlie misbehaves, getting drunk, flirting with Mabel and singing loudly along with the band. The boyfriend, watching from a distance is now determined to expose him. When Charlie takes his leave to return to work, Harry suggests that the party go slumming to the very cabaret at which Charlie works. When the upper-class guests arrive, they are treated like royalty by the workers and other patrons. When Charlie discovers them at his table he hides the apron he's wearing and sits down next to Mabel, pretending that he's another guest. When the boss scolds him for sitting down on the job, Charlie is exposed as a lowly waiter, much to the shock of Mabel and her father. A melee then ensues between Charlie and his pistol-wielding Boss, whom Charlie knocks out while Mabel hides under a table. Charlie protests his love for Mabel, but she responds with a final knockout blow. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The Bond
This short promotional film Charlie Chaplin made for the U.S. Liberty Loan bond campaign was shot in a few days during the shooting of Shoulder Arms. Using rather stark, expressionistic sets and props, it tells the story of the various types of bonds between people. The bond of friendship, shows Chaplin meeting friend Albert Austin who tells him jokes, borrows money, then invites him for a drink with the money he's borrowed. The bond of love is represented by Charlie and Edna, who are struck by cupid's arrows and soon enter into the bond of matrimony. But the "most important of all" is the Liberty Bond. Edna is Miss Liberty, threatened by the Kaiser who has subdued a soldier in uniform. Charlie is seen buying bonds from Uncle Sam who gives the money in turn to a worker, who gives guns to a soldier and sailor. Finally, Charlie KOs the Kaiser with a mallet inscribed "Liberty Bonds" and extorts the audience to help the cause. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Laughing Gas
Charlie Chaplin's 20th film for Keystone marks a turning point in his career. From this point on, with one exception, he was to write and direct all his future films. In Laughing Gas Chaplin plays a dentist's assistant who is first seen entering the office officiously. The patients are fooled into thinking he is the dentist himself, until he picks up the spittoons and exits to a back room. He confronts a midget-size co-worker there. The Dentist finally arrives and the first patient is admitted. Laughing gas is administered, and the extraction performed, but the dentist is not able to awaken the patient. He sends Chaplin out to the pharmacy for an antidote. Chaplin encounters Mack Swain who is standing in front of the pharmacy, blocking the entrance. Chaplin gains entrance by performing some of his famous hat tricks, which non plus Swain. Exiting the pharmacy Chaplin gets into a fight with Swain which evolves into brick throwing, during which Swain and an innocent bystander, Slim Summerville, are both hit in the face, turning them both into dental patients. On his way back to the office, Chaplin encounters and flirts with the dentist's wife and accidentally tears off her skirt. When Chaplin arrives with the medicine, the patient has left, and the dentist has been called away to attend his distraught wife. Chaplin admits a beautiful female patient who he pretends to examine but with whom he flirts by grasping her nose with a pair of pliers and kissing her, to her apparent amusement. Summerville and Swain then arrive at the office and Swain catches sight of Chaplin in the back room. The dentist and his wife arrive and a melee ensues in which everyone is literally kicked out onto the pavement, except Chaplin and the wife who collapse in the waiting room. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The Fatal Mallet
Charlie Chaplin's 15th comedy for Keystone is another violent park farce. It is the only teaming of this quartet of Keystone stars. Chaplin, Mack Sennett and Mack Swain are all suitors for the attentions of Mabel Normand. Charlie comes upon Sennett (playing his "dumb rube" character) and Normand flirting by a tree. Charlie attempts to dispatch Sennett with a thrown brick but grazes Mabel, incurring her wrath. Swain, the rival who seems to have Mabel's favor, shows up and takes Mabel off. Charlie and Sennett sneak up on Swain, who is seated on a swing with Mabel, and knock him out with more bricks. A series of confrontations between the three suitors ensue and are won mainly by Chaplin. He ends up temporarily imprisoning his rivals in a nearby shed through his deft use of a large mallet (although not fatal) which he wields with customary grace. Due to his bullying of a young boy whom he discovers sitting with Mabel, Charlie doesn't win her favor. When the recovered Swain confronts him, Swain winds up in the lake. Sennett, watching from nearby, returns and similarly dispatches Charlie and then strolls away with Mabel on his arm. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The Pawnshop
A Film Johnnie
In Charlie Chaplin's fifth Keystone comedy we get a look inside the famous laugh factory. Charlie is a movie fan and we first see him creating havoc at a theatre where he gets too involved with the action on the screen and the beautiful actress in the film. Ejected from the theatre, he proceeds to Keystone itself where he mooches money from Roscoe Arbuckle as he arrives at work. Charlie sneaks into the studio and disrupts the filming, much to the chagrin of the director. He mistakes a scene where the starlet is being manhandled for reality and comes to her rescue. Firing a prop pistol in all directions, he clears the stages before leaving. Meanwhile, a Keystone scout sees a building on fire in a nearby street and telephones the studio. In a parody of Mack Sennett's propensity to use public events and disasters as backdrops for his films, the cast and crew rush off to do some location filming at the fire. Charlie shows up and again disrupts the filming, causing the director to take after him brandishing a club. The firemen arrive and seeing the struggle between the director and his assistants who are trying to restrain him, turn the hoses on the fighting men. Charlie again tries his luck with the beautiful actress and receives a good shaking in response, followed by a soaking by the fire squad. In a classic Chaplin move, he twists his ear as water squirts from his mouth. When the beautiful actress laughs at his condition, a water-logged Charlie gives up on his movie fanaticism. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

A Night Out
In his second Essanay comedy Charlie Chaplin is teamed with cross-eyed comic Ben Turpin as two drunks on a spree. It is noteworthy as his first film with Edna Purviance, who was to be his love interest in films for the next eight years, and in real life for the next three. It combines elements from at least three Keystones, Mabel's Strange Predicament, The Rounders and Caught in the Rain, but uses a number of comic transpositions of the type that were to become Chaplin's hallmark. Charlie and Ben carouse to a saloon and a restaurant, incurring the wrath of a French boulevardier and a restaurant manager. Ejected from the restaurant, they return to their hotel room where they meet Edna, whose room is across the hall. Charlie flirts with Edna until her husband, the restaurant manager, returns and chases him away. Charlie and Ben then have a fight, and Charlie packs and leaves the hotel, checking into another one nearby. Edna and hubby decide they don't like the hotel either and move into Charlie's. Charlie undresses for bed in his room while Edna, across the hall, plays fetch with her dog. When she throws her slipper into the hallway, the dog takes it into Charlie's room and under his bed. Chasing the dog, Edna hides under Charlie's bed when he re-enters the room from the bathroom. He escorts her back to her room but is caught there by the irate husband. When hubby draws a pistol, Charlie escapes through the window but makes his way back into the hotel. He encounters Ben who has come looking for Charlie's share of the rent on their former room, and a fight ensues in which Charlie ends up floundering in the bathtub. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Work
Work, Charlie Chaplin's eighth film for Essanay casts Charlie as a wallpaper-hanger's assistant who must pull the wagon containing the boss (Charles Insley) and all his gear through the city streets and up some imposing hills (created by using tilted camera angles). Charlie is little more than a beast of burden and must do all the work when they arrive at a wealthy couple's (Billy Armstrong and Marta Golden) home. The woman of the house suspects the workers of being dishonest when she catches Charlie admiring a small statue, and she locks up her valuables in a safe. This prompts Charlie to "lock up" his and his boss's watches and cash by pinning them into his pants pocket. Charlie proves to be an inept decorator, making a huge mess and causing his boss to get a bucket of wallpaper paste over his head. He befriends Edna Purviance, the maid, and in a rather intimate scene, tells her his story and his hopes for the future. The wife's lover, Leo White arrives, but when he sees that the husband is still home, he pretends to be a workman. The husband is wise to the dodge and attacks his wife's lover, eventually pulling out a revolver and chasing him around the house. A stray bullet hits the gas stove which explodes, partially burying everyone. In the famous last scene, Charlie emerges from the inverted oven door, exhales some smoke, and, sizing up the situation, smiles into the camera. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

A Busy Day
Notable as Charlie Chaplin's first female impersonation film, the half-reel A Busy Day is another of the Keystone shorts in which a film crew was dispatched to improvise a comedy at the site of a public event, in this case a parade celebrating the opening of a new harbor in San Pedro, California. Chaplin plays a shrewish wife, attending the event with her philandering husband, Mack Swain. Mack takes up with a young woman at the parade and his wife follows him around trying to catch them in the act. In the process, "she" gets involved with a film crew trying to record the event, getting in the way of the camera as Chaplin's Tramp had done in the earlier Kid Auto Races. In this case, the director who manhandles the obstreperous wife is Keystone boss Mack Sennett. The jealous wife also engages in some humorous dancing as she listens to the band play and tussles with a cop who earlier had tried to get her away from the movie camera. Eventually she catches up to Mack and his paramour, and when she confronts and attacks them, she is thrown off a pier into the ocean ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Recreation
For this half-reel quickie, Charlie Chaplin's 23rd Keystone comedy, Chaplin took cast and crew back to Westlake Park, scene of so many of the Keystones, and shot it in a day. While a sleeping sailor and his bored girlfriend occupy a park bench, the little Tramp is contemplating suicide on a nearby bridge. Leaving her boring beau, the girl passes Charlie and inspires in him a new will to live. He follows her to another bench and, shyly at first, begins a flirtation. The sailor wakes and, finding them together, chases Charlie away with a hard slap. Charlie, from behind a tree begins a brick-throwing match in which inevitably, two Kops become involved. One comes up behind Charlie as he's about to throw another brick and Charlie (in a bit of business which anticipates a bit he gave to Jackie Coogan in his 1921 classic, The Kid) dusts off the brick, tosses it idly, and throws it over his shoulder. Eventually the Kops catch up with the sailor and he successfully fights them off, getting them embroiled with each other. Meanwhile the Girl has escaped to the lake side and is joined by Charlie. When the sailor and Kops arrive, all five end up treading water in Echo Lake. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Dough and Dynamite
Charlie Chaplin's 29th comedy for Keystone was one of his most popular, grossing $130,000 in its initial year of release. It was shot before, but released after Those Love Pangs, and was originally conceived as an early sequence of the latter, showing Charlie and Chester Conklin at work in a combination cafe/bakery. The sequence was so good Mack Sennett suggested that Chaplin expand it. Waiter Charlie has his mind on a waitress as he clears one patron's plate onto the food of another. He mans the bakery counter and is taken with a female customer, especially her hip movements which he imitates. He gets into fights with fellow-waiter Chester and disrupts work in the bakery below. The bakers strike for higher wages and Charlie and Chester are impressed into service as bakers at which both are inept. The striking bakers plot revenge as one of them buys a loaf of bread and inserts a stick of dynamite into it. They send a little girl to return it as undercooked, and the owner's wife brings it downstairs to have it baked further. She observes Charlie's method of bagel making - whipping a roll of dough around his wrist forming a ring and rolling it off over his hand. Meanwhile the owner (Fritz Schade) has been noticing that the waitresses have dough on their derrieres, indicating they've been socializing with Charlie in the bakery. When his wife returns from downstairs, the owner likewise sees dough on her behind, put there by Charlie, and he flies into a rage. He goes down to the bakery and berates Charlie, slaps him around and chases him upstairs to the restaurant and down again. In self defense Charlie flings dough and flour bags at Fritz and Chester. Just then the oven explodes, covering Chester and Fritz with debris and burying Charlie under a huge lump of dough from which he emerges, eyes first, as the film ends. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

His New Profession
Charlie Chaplin's 25th Keystone comedy is a park farce on the same order as many of his earlier shorts. It opens with a famous shot of Charlie sitting on a park bench, reading Police Gazette, the National Enquirer of its time. A couple nearby are unhappy; the boy, Charles Parrot (later known as Charley Chase), has to take care of his gouty, wheelchair-bound uncle, preventing him from going off with his girlfriend, Gene Marsh. He gets an idea -- find someone to push uncle around for the day. He finds Charlie, of course, but not before his girlfriend encounters the Tramp. She accidentally drops her purse in front of him and he retrieves it and tries to flirt. When Charlie agrees to push Uncle around, the Nephew finds his girlfriend and they go off for a stroll. Wheeling Uncle past a saloon, Charlie asks for an advance for a drink but the Uncle refuses. Charlie pushes Uncle to a nearby pier where another invalid in a wheelchair with a tin cup and a "Help A Cripple" sign has fallen asleep. Charlie deftly puts the sign and cup on Uncle, who is also dozing. The first contribution is enough to send Charlie off to the saloon for a drink. Meanwhile the couple arrives at the pier and finds the sleeping Uncle in this embarrassing position. Gene laughingly teases her beau as they again escape. Another charitable soul comes by and drops a coin in the cup which awakens the cripple who takes back his sign and cup and strikes Uncle on his gouty foot with his cane. Charlie arrives quite tipsy and wheels Uncle further along the pier, amusing him with his Police Gazette. The couple has meanwhile had a fight, and the girl arrives on the pier and sits down next to Charlie. He begins flirting again, and when Uncle tries to interfere, Charlie pushes him right to the end of the pier. Nephew arrives and is enraged to see Charlie and Gene together. A scrap begins also involving a couple of Kops, one of whom shoos the boyfriend away before being pushed off the pier. The other Kop pinches Uncle as a troublemaker, leaving Charlie and Gene to walk off together. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Easy Street
The Champion
The Champion, Chaplin's third film for Essanay, is easily one of the funniest and is his most advanced film to date in plotting and characterization. We meet Charlie and his bulldog sharing a found hot dog, which the dog won't eat until it is salted. They pass a gymnasium advertising for sparring partners. Charlie finds a lucky horseshoe and after witnessing the condition of the previous sparring partners, he decides to employ it in his left boxing glove. He thereby kayos the club champ and becomes the new golden boy. He begins to train for the big championship fight against Champ, Bud Jamison. The beautiful daughter of the Gym owner, Edna Purviance gets his interest and seems taken with him. A shady character Leo White, a slimy betting tout, oozes into camp and tries to bribe Charlie into throwing the big fight, but while Charlie takes his money, he treats him with total contempt. On the day of the fight, Charlie says an emotional goodbye to his dog and enters the ring. In the audience are cowboy-star Bronco Billy Anderson, one of the founders of Essanay (whose initials, along with partner George K. Spoor's are the source of its name), and Ben Turpin as the vendor. The hilarious slapstick prizefight is pretty even at first, but by the fourth round Charlie's getting the worst of it. Seeing the trouble his master is in, the bulldog jumps into the ring and restrains the opponent by the seat of his pants while Charlie delivers a series of coup-de-grace punches. Charlie is hoisted on the shoulders of his cornermen as the new Champion. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

One A.M.
Charlie Chaplin's fourth film for Mutual is a tour de force solo performance, with Chaplin playing his classic drunk, returning home in the wee hours. The only other character in the film is the taxi driver who is oblivious to Charlie's difficulties getting out of the cab. Charlie has equal problems getting into his house. He can't find his key and enters via a window, but he soon finds his key in his vest pocket and exits via the window, reentering in the proper way, through the door. His house is filled with inanimate objects, which to his mind, are ganging up against him. The stuffed animals seem to attack him as he slides on throw rugs along the slippery floor and tries to reach a liquor bottle on a revolving table that keeps eluding him. When he attempts to climb the stairs, he is repeatedly struck by the oversized pendulum of a wall clock and sent tumbling down the staircase. Finally reaching his bedroom, his automatic Murphy bed seems to have a mind of its own, trapping him as it revolves round and round inside its wall compartment, bucking him like a bronco when he sits on it and falling on top of him when he lays on the floor. Finally abandoning the bedroom, Charlie goes to the bathroom, soaking himself as he tries to get a drink from the shower stall and then settling down for the night in the bathtub. Although essentially plotless, One A.M. is a brilliant clinic in physical comedy and the psychology of alcoholic delusions. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Twenty Minutes of Love
Charlie Chaplin once said, "All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl." In this, his 11th film for Keystone and arguably his first original screenplay, his milieu is just that -- Westlake Park, where most of the Keystone park films were shot. The Tramp makes fun of a romantic couple (Minta Durfee and Edgar Kennedy) kissing on a bench then goes over to pester them and insinuate himself with the girl. Meanwhile another couple on another park bench (Chester Conklin and Vivian Edwards) argue because he has no ring to give her. To get the funds he needs for her ring, the fiancé steals a pocket watch from a sleeping man while his naughty girlfriend flirts with Charlie. Trouble erupts when the fiancé sees them together. In the ensuing shuffle, Charlie gets the watch. A merry chase follows, involving the suitor, the tramp and the ubiquitous park policeman. During one flight scene, Charlie raises his right leg and skids to a stop (the first time Chaplin used this signature gag). In the midst of all the chaos, Charlie proclaims his undying love for the girl. After many comic shenanigans, the policeman and the fiancé end up all wet, while lucky Charlie finds himself with a new watch and a new lady love. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The Adventurer
Shanghaied
Shanghaied, Charlie Chaplin's 11th film for Essanay was shot largely on board the SS Vaquero, which Chaplin had rented for the film. Chaplin's cameraman, Harry Ensign, devised a pivot for the camera which simulated the violent rocking of the ship as well as rockers for the stage, anticipating the shipboard shots in The Immigrant. In the story, Charlie is in love with Edna Purviance, whose father owns a ship which he plans to have blown up for the insurance money. Forbidden to see Charlie, Edna runs away, leaving a note: "Father -- I have stowed away on your boat. Goodbye. Your unhappy daughter, Edna." Coincidentally, Charlie is hired to hit prospective crew members over the head with a mallet, whereupon they are shanghaied. He is himself shanghaied by the first mate in the same fashion. Charlie is a willing but inept seaman, knocking the whole crew overboard by misdirecting a loading crane and washing dishes in the soup that the cook is preparing. As the ship's rolling increases, Charlie has difficulty serving dinner and becomes seasick. He discovers Edna hiding in the hold just before the Captain and First Mate light the fuse on a keg of TNT and escape in a launch. Meanwhile, Edna's father has found her note and is chasing after them in a speeding boat, trying to stop the explosion. Charlie throws the TNT keg overboard and into the skiff of the escaping Captain, saving the Vaquero. When Edna's father arrives, Edna and Charlie join him in his launch, but when he will still not approve of Charlie, even after saving his daughter and his boat, Charlie kicks the man overboard, much to Edna's delight. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

By the Sea
Charlie Chaplin's last one-reeler (with the exception of The Bond), is an impromptu film shot on the beach at Crystal Pier in Los Angeles, his first film shot there since leaving Keystone. It is superior to similarly made Keystone's in that the timing and gag ideas are much better realized. The film opens with couple Billy Armstrong and Margie Reiger at the beach on a windy day. Margie goes off, telling Billy to stay put. Charlie comes walking down a seaside street eating a banana and, after tossing the peel away, he slips on it. He encounters Billy when both men's hats, attached to them by elastic, get blown off and entangled. This causes a fight between them in which Charlie gets Billy in a headlock and knocks him unconscious, but fleas from Billy's head jump onto Charlie's arms, at which point Charlie performs a precursor of the flea circus routine that is featured in Limelight and the never released The Professor. Just then Edna Purviance passes by and Charlie flirts with her. She is amused by his antics despite herself. She goes off and sits down by her boyfriend, Bud Jamison, who has been waiting for her on a nearby bench. Charlie and Billy make up, and Billy offers to buy them refreshments at a nearby ice cream stand operated by Snub Pollard. They again begin to fight as Billy refuses to pay. During the fight Bud gets hit by flying ice cream and joins the fray. The fight is broken up by a cop, who drags Billy off. Escaping, Charlie sits down next to Edna, bouncing her up and down by sitting down heavily. He's chased off by the returning Bud and joins Margie (who has been looking for Billy) on another bench until all the others arrive, whereupon Charlie tips over the bench and makes his getaway. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Triple Trouble
Triple Trouble, although commonly acknowledged in Chaplin filmographies, was not really a Charlie Chaplin film in that it was released without his permission, and much to his annoyance by Essanay three years after he left them. Its jumbled story is cobbled together out of pieces of Police, Work and the unfinished feature, Life, which Essanay insisted Chaplin abandon in favor of making more quickly produced two-reelers. It also contains new footage shot in 1918 by Leo White in order to provide the weak plot on which to hang the Chaplin footage. Chaplin is a janitor in the home of Colonel Nutt, the inventor of a new secret weapon, the wireless bomb. Edna Purviance is the cleaning woman in the same household and Charlie incurs her anger by spilling garbage on her clean floor and getting her into trouble with their boss, the cook Billy Armstrong. A group of foreign diplomats led by White plan to get the formula from the Professor by either bribe or theft. When he is ejected from the house by the butler at the Colonel's request, Leo hires a thief to do the dirty work, but is overheard by a cop. Meanwhile, in a scene excised from Life and Police, Charlie goes to a flop house for the night where he encounters some rather odd characters, including a drunk who won't stop singing until Charlie smashes him with a bottle, but not before preparing his bed and pillow and tucking him in afterward. A riot starts at the flophouse when Charlie robs a pickpocket who has been robbing the sleepers. Chaplin uses a gag he was to repeat in The Gold Rush, that of laying covered in bed, wrong way round, with hands in shoes. The thief, having co-opted Charlie, arrives at the Nutt house and tries to steal the formula, but the cops are there and a melee ensues in which the thief fires his gun into the Colonel's invention and the house, the diplomats and everyone else explodes. Charlie is seen emerging from the oven door -- just as he had at the end of Work. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

A Night in the Show
A Night at the Show is the most elaborate two-reeler directed by Charlie Chaplin during his 1915-1916 stay at Essanay studios. Based on "A Night in an English Music Hall," the Fred Karno-produced ensemble sketch which brought Chaplin to the U.S. in 1910, the film is set in a crowded theater, where a series of mediocre variety acts try to entertain the audience. Chaplin plays two roles: a slick-haired dandy in the orchestra seats, who flirts with the female performers at every possible opportunity, and "Mr. Rowdy," a walrus-mustached drunkard who heckles the actors from the balcony. The film comes to an abrupt end when Mr. Rowdy gets hold of a fire hose and douses everyone in sight. A Night at the Show is usually released on video in tandem with several other Essanay Chaplin films, notably The Bank and Shanghaied. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Mabel's Married Life
In his 19th film for Keystone, Charlie Chaplin plays a somewhat more sympathetic role as the husband of comedienne Mabel Normand. As so many of his Keystone comedies do, it begins in a park where Mack Swain, dressed in a sporty outfit and carrying a tennis racquet, leaves his wife seated on a bench and goes off to a neighboring saloon. Charlie and Mabel are seated on a nearby bench arguing about the state of Charlie's worn out shoes. Charlie goes off for a drink in the saloon, passing Mack on the way in, who returns to the park and begins to flirt with Mabel. She is first bemused by his attentions but then is outraged when Charlie returns and is unable to rescue her. In fact he isn't even able to get Mack's attention despite increasingly hard kicks to Mack's posterior, anticipating Charlie's confrontation with the bully in Easy Street. Mack eventually flings Charlie's top hat off in the direction of the bench where Mack's wife is seated. While Charlie retrieves the hat, Mack takes Mabel over to the lake shore where, despite her protestations and calls for Charlie to help her, he persists in mashing her. Mack's wife hears the commotion and, with Charlie, she confronts Mack and Mabel, accusing Mabel of flirting with Mack. Charlie, angry with Mabel, sends her home. Mabel, angry with Charlie for his weakness in not defending her, buys a prizefighter's dummy, which is dressed just like Mack, from a sporting goods store. Meanwhile, Charlie has returned to the saloon where he is harassed by the other patrons including Mack. Finally, Charlie is drunk enough to defend himself which he does by felling all four patrons with one well-placed kick. The dummy is delivered to Charlie and Mabel's apartment, and when Charlie comes home, he drunkenly believes the dummy to be Mack. He is intimidated by the dummy and tries to pacify it, offering it a drink. Whenever he pushes it, it rebounds and knocks him to the floor. Finally, Mabel enters from the bedroom and shows her soused husband that he's been afraid of a dummy. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Mabel's Strange Predicament
The Kid
The Knockout
Although better known as Charlie Chaplin's 17th appearance in a Keystone comedy, The Knockout is really a Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle film. The big event in Fatty's town is a prizefight in which champ Cyclone Flynn will meet all comers. Fatty is tricked into accepting the fight by two hobos who are making book on the fight. Through a note ostensibly from Flynn, they offer Fatty a split if he throws the fight, but Fatty, thinking one of the hobos is Flynn, refuses. The real Flynn arrives and dispatches the impostors. The match proceeds with heavy betting going on and Fatty's girlfriend dressed as a boy in order to gain entrance to the arena. Charlie is the referee who is constantly being knocked down by the fighters because he keeps getting in between them. Angered by losing after a short count, Fatty grabs two six-guns from a gambler at ringside and begins firing in all directions. Cyclone takes to his heels and a classic rooftop Keystone chase ensues, with the Keystone Kops in pursuit of Fatty, in pursuit of Cyclone. When the Kops lasso Fatty, he drags six of them along the ground by the rope until he leaps off a pier taking them all with him. With everyone treading water, the Kops surround Fatty as the film ends. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

His New Job
Charlie Chaplin began his new job at Essanay Studios, who lured him away from Keystone with an offer of $1250 a week plus a bonus of $10,000, with a parody film on his former employer. It features two actresses at the beginning of their careers in minor roles -- Gloria Swanson and Agnes Ayres. Charlie applies for work at the Lockstone Motion Picture Company. Arriving at the office just after him is cross-eyed comedian Ben Turpin. Charlie is interviewed by the boss who uses a funnel and long tube as a hearing aid. Charlie uses the device with a cigarette in his mouth which gets lodged in the funnel. Charlie tries to dislodge it by pouring ink into the funnel and blowing but ends up with the ink on his own face. Hired as an assistant carpenter/prop man, he disrupts rehearsals and gets into trouble with the director. He is told to don an extra's military costume for the Russian melodrama being filmed, but he goes instead into the star's dressing room and steals his costume. Charlie is as inept as an actor as he is a carpenter, sitting on the train of the leading lady's gown, tearing it off as she walks up a staircase and blowing his nose in it as he overacts tearfully. (This scene contains one of the first dolly shots in Chaplin films). He later topples a large column which lands on top of him, and he is sat upon by Turpin, who, having replaced him as prop man is called to lift the column. Eventually, the star actor arrives, and, enraged at finding his costume missing, starts a melee on stage which ends with everyone but Charlie unconscious. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The Count
The Count, filmed during Charlie Chaplin's 1916-17 Mutual period, is a rowdy throwback to his Keystone days. Chaplin plays the assistant to bombastic clothes-presser Eric Campbell. While dallying with the cook at the Moneybags Mansion, Charlie spots Eric, posing as Count Broko. Eric tries to hide his subterfuge by introducing Charlie as his secretary. In this guise, Charlie is invited to a formal dinner dance presided over by lovely socialite Edna Purviance. When the real Count Broko (Leo White) shows up, chaos reigns supreme. The Count was the fifth of Chaplin's "golden dozen" Mutual two-reelers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Bank
Tillie's Punctured Romance
This Keystone comedy, Charlie Chaplin's 33rd, is the first feature-length comedy ever made and contributed to making Chaplin and his co-star Marie Dressler major stars. Chaplin plays a con artist (not the Tramp) who talks Tillie, an innocent country lass, into taking her father's savings and running off to the city with him. Once there, he re-establishes his affair with the beautiful Mabel Normand, abandoning Tillie, who must begin working at a restaurant, while Charlie and Mabel spend her father's money for new clothes. Meanwhile, Tillie's millionaire uncle is reported to have died in a mountain-climbing accident. When the opportunistic Charlie learns that Tillie has just inherited three million dollars, he immediately rushes over to propose. She joyfully accepts, but is suspicious when she learns of her inheritance. Later, at a wedding gala at Tillie's new mansion where Normand has begun working as a maid, Charlie sneaks off for a little tete-a-tete with the latter. Trouble erupts when Dressler catches them smooching. Suddenly all the slapstick craziness for which director Mack Sennett is famous erupts as Tillie grabs a pistol and begins chasing Charlie and Mabel, firing randomly. Just as the wayward Charlie is to be strangled to death, the "late" uncle suddenly appears and ejects all the celebrants. Charlie and Mabel, chased by Tillie, race out of the ruined mansion to a pier where they are followed by the ubiquitous Keystone Kops whom the uncle has summoned. Tillie ends up in the drink, and when rescued after numerous attempts, she rejects Charlie while consoling Mabel, saying, "He ain't no good to neither of us," as the Kops drag Charlie away. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Behind the Screen
In Behind the Screen, the seventh of his 12 Mutual Studios two-reelers, Charlie Chaplin pokes some less than gentle fun at his former employer Mack Sennett. Chaplin and Eric Campbell play a couple of bumbling stagehands at Gigantic Picture Studios. They knock each other about, break for lunch, and knock each about again. Pretty Edna Purviance sneaks into the studio disguised as a boy. Chaplin finds out her secret and steals a kiss -- drawing a very suspicious glance from Campbell. The film ends with a combination union strike and slapstick pie fight. Best bit: a temperamental movie comedian refuses to throw a pie without proper "motivation." Chaplin spent so much time achieving perfection in Behind the Screen that Mutual was obliged to apologize to its exhibitors for missing the scheduled release date by two weeks. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Police
Charlie Chaplin's last film for Essanay (not counting the compilation, Triple Trouble) was released after he had moved on to the Mutual Film Corporation. Charlie is released from prison with the customary few dollars in his pocket. He's approached on the street by a fake preacher who asks Charlie to "Let me help you go straight," making him sob with his touching sermon, while picking his pocket. Charlie encounters a drunk with his pocketwatch hanging from his vest, but resists the temptation of stealing it. A few moments later, after realizing he has been robbed, Charlie sees the preacher with the drunk and notes, after the preacher departs, that the watch is gone. Approached by a real preacher this time, Charlie chases him down the street. As evening approaches Charlie goes to a seedy flophouse, but is ejected because he cannot pay. He encounters an old cellmate on the street and is recruited to participate in the robbery of Edna's house. Charlie proves an inept burglar, making so much noise that Edna is roused, and she calls the police before confronting them. She begs them not to go upstairs because her mother is very ill and the shock might kill her. She even provides food and beer for the burglars, asking Charlie to let her help him to go straight. But Charlie's partner is heartless and heads upstairs despite Edna's pleas. When Edna tries to stop him, he threatens to strike her and that is too much for Charlie, who fights with the thief until the police arrive. Firing his pistol, the thief escapes through a back window, but the cops catch Charlie before he can escape. Edna, grateful to Charlie for his protection, lies to the police telling them Charlie is her husband. After the cops leave, Edna gives Charlie a coin and sends him off. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The Face on the Bar Room Floor
The Face on the Bar-Room Floor, Charlie Chaplin's 22nd Keystone comedy, was based on a well-known poem by Hugh Antoine D'Arcy, "The Face Upon the Floor." The film begins in a saloon where Charlie, a destitute Tramp, is bumming drinks. He offers to tell the story of his downfall to the other patrons, and the story goes into a long flashback sequence. The Tramp was once a successful artist. The audience sees him dressed in a tuxedo, at work in his studio, painting a portrait of his wife (Cecile Arnold). His next client is a portly man who is obviously well to do. When the wife comes into the studio, she and the client fall instantly in love. Later they run off together, leaving a note pinned to the nose of the portrait. Charlie returns to the studio and upon finding the note, flies into a rage, destroying the portrait. Time passes. Charlie is now a Tramp in a park. His former wife and her lover come into view with four children in tow and another in a baby carriage. She is berating her new man and doesn't notice Charlie, but her husband looks at him enviously. Charlie wipes his brow, looking relieved and strolls off. Back in the bar room, the flashback finished, Charlie is handed a piece of chalk. Now quite drunk, he attempts to draw his ex-wife's picture on the floor. He is ordered out of the bar by the other patrons, and a fight breaks out, ending with Charlie collapsing, unconscious on the face upon the floor. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

In the Park
Charlie Chaplin's fourth release for Essanay is very similar to his Keystone Twenty Minutes of Love. He had taken longer than planned to complete his previous film, The Champion, and he felt obliged to give Essanay a new film quickly, so he shot and edited this park farce in the course of a week. It opens with Leo White in his French Count costume and Margie Reiger spooning on a park bench, observed by an amused Edna Purviance seated on a nearby bench, wearing a nursemaid's outfit and minding a baby carriage. Chaplin, strolling through the park, encounters an inept pickpocket, from whose pocket Chaplin picks a cigarette and a match. Chaplin comes upon the couple, and mocking their emotions, he gets chased away. Purviance is joined by her boyfriend Bud Jamison who goes off to buy a hot dog from a vendor. Finding Purviance alone, Chaplin makes eyes at her and gets a few smiles in return, but when he tries to mash her she spurns him. Meanwhile the pickpocket steals Reiger's purse while the couple are necking. Returning to Purviance, Jamison chases Chaplin away. Chaplin encounters the same hot dog vendor and steals a string of hot dogs which he hangs from his breast pocket and eats by swinging them up to his mouth. The pickpocket steals Chaplin's hot dogs, but Chaplin steals the purse from his pocket. While Chaplin sells the purse to Jamison for $2, the pickpocket starts a brick fight during which everyone except Chaplin is knocked out. Chaplin gives the purse to Purviance, who rewards him with a hug, but Jamison awakens and returns to claim the purse and Purviance. By this time Reiger has discovered her purse is gone and sends White over to Jamison to retrieve it. He is beaten back by Jamison and when Reiger spurns him for his ineptitude he contemplates suicide. Chaplin comes along and obliges him by booting him into the lake. Meanwhile Reiger has summoned a cop who gets the purse back from Jamison and confronts Chaplin, but ends up in the lake along with Jamison, as Chaplin strolls away. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The Immigrant
Charles Chaplin's next-to-last Mutual Studios 2-reeler is as funny as his other 11 Mutual entries, though there's a stronger inner lining of poignancy. En route by boat from an unnamed country, immigrant Chaplin tries to make the best of the nausea-inducing rough seas. He then befriends fellow emigree Edna Purviance and her ailing mother. Months pass: Chaplin meets Purviance in a restaurant. Quickly ascertaining that her mother has died, Chaplin appoints himself Purviance's protector. He even promises to pay for the meal; after all, he's just found a silver dollar on the street. But when the dollar lands on the ground with a leadlike thud, Chaplin realizes he's as broke as ever--and now he's at the mercy of blood-in-his-eye headwaiter Eric Campbell. But fortune smiles on Chaplin and Purviance when a famous artist decides to hire the girl as his model. Chaplin negotiates an excellent contract for his bride-to-be, and everything comes up roses. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A Day's Pleasure
Charlie Chaplin's fourth film for First National is generally considered a lightweight entry and a throwback to earlier days. It begins with Charlie, Edna and their two boys leaving their house (actually a corner of Chaplin's studio at La Brea and De Longpre in Hollywood) for a day's outing. The family piles into the family flivver, and after Charlie's amusing efforts to keep the engine running, they arrive at a dock and board a crowded day cruiser. Charlie has a disagreement with another passenger (Tom Wilson), when he squeezes himself into a place on the bench next to the fellow's hefty wife, (Babe London). When Wilson tosses the famous derby onto the dock, Charlie races off the boat to get it. As the vessel pulls away from the dock, a large woman with a baby carriage tries to board, but ends up stretched between the dock and the boat. Charlie, returning with his hat uses her as a gangplank, then tries to pull her aboard with a grappling hook. Once the boat is under way, the passengers dance to the music of a small combo, but soon everyone is feeling the effects of the violently rocking cruiser. Charlie has to stop dancing with the lovely Edna to sit by the railing near the trombonist, whose own mal de mer turns the black man quite pale. Meanwhile, Edna and the kids are napping on deck chairs and Charlie decides to join them. In typical Chaplinesque fashion, he cannot seem to assemble his chair. Overcome by seasickness he collapses into the lap of the equally bilious Babe and is covered with a blanket by a helpful steward. When the lady's jealous husband returns with drinks he tries to attack Charlie, but becomes too nauseated to continue, of which the now recovered Charlie takes advantage. The return trip in the family car is equally eventful. Charlie runs afoul of a couple of traffic cops, is blocked by some irate pedestrians, one of whose foul language spurs Charlie to indicate the divine retribution awaiting him, and backs into a tar truck which spills its contents on the street. The cops, berating Charlie for blocking traffic, get stuck in the tar along with Charlie, but he cleverly steps out of his large shoes and drives off with his family, much to the amusement of the onlookers. This last scene may have originally been intended to occur earlier in the film, according to continuity sheets existing in the Chaplin archives, but was placed at he end of the film for the released version. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

A Woman
Charlie Chaplin's ninth film for Essanay contains his third and last female impersonation. It begins, as so many of Chaplin's early films do, in a park. Edna Purviance is seated on a park bench with her parents (Charles Insley and Marta Golden). Mother has fallen asleep and is snoring loudly, much to Edna's disgust. Bored, Edna herself soon falls asleep and Father, spotting a fetching lady (Margie Reiger), chases after her. Charlie appears wandering through the park and, after Father departs to buy sodas, joins Margie and flirts with her. When Father returns, he is enraged and hits Charlie on the head with one of the soda bottles, escorting Margie away. A couple of dandies out for a stroll, Leo White and Billy Armstrong, sit down next to Charlie and when he's caught taking a sip out of one of their sodas, they fight. Leo runs away and Billy is knocked unconscious. Meanwhile Father and Margie are playing hide-and-seek and Margie has taken the opportunity of a blindfolded Father to escape. Charlie comes upon him and leads him around by the neck with his cane until they reach the lake into which Charlie throws Father. Charlie wanders off to discover Edna and Mother, still asleep. Awakened, they become acquainted, inviting Charlie home for tea. Father meets Billy and invites him home for a drink. When they show up at home, Charlie is recognized and when a fight breaks out, Charlie runs upstairs to hide. Hiding in Edna's room, he dons her dress and hat. Edna, finding Charlie in the hall, falls down laughing at Charlie's female impersonation, but suggests he shave his mustache and don a pair of her shoes. When this is done, the illusion is perfect. So perfect that both Father and Billy are totally fooled and flirt outrageously with Charlie, much to Edna's amusement and Mother's anger. Both men ask for a kiss and Charlie suggests that they kiss opposite cheeks at the count of three. Of course Charlie steps back at "three" and the men kiss each other. This starts another fracas during which Billy is ejected from the house. Still enamored, Father accidentally pulls off Charlie's dress, revealing his true identity. Edna intervenes and begs forgiveness for Charlie, but Father gives him the boot and he ends up on the sidewalk beside Billy, to whom he delivers a knockout slap as the film ends. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The Vagabond
Shoulder Arms
The Rink
Charlie Chaplin's 2-reel laugh parade The Rink was based on "Skating," a sketch Chaplin had previously performed while a member of the Fred Karno stage troupe. Chaplin plays a waiter who determines what his customers have had for dinner by checking the food spots on their clothes. After quitting time, Chaplin repairs to the ice skating rink, where his skill and grace catches the eye of pretty socialite Edna Purviance. She invites him to a soiree, where he runs afoul of massive Eric Campbell for the third time that day. A melee results, whereupon Chaplin hooks a passing auto with his cane and makes his escape. The Rink was the eighth of Chaplin's "golden dozen" short subjects filmed during his stay at Mutual Studios. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Rounders
In his 26th Keystone comedy Charlie Chaplin pairs off with fellow Keystone star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Chaplin and Arbuckle are both drunks and are both married to domineering wives. Chaplin, dressed in top hat and evening clothes, arrives drunk to his hotel and is confronted by wife Phyllis Allen who berates and manhandles him. Arbuckle arrives a few moments later and, in an adjacent room, meets a similar fate with his wife, Minta Durfee, his real life spouse. The noise of their fight makes Allen send Chaplin over to see what's going on. Durfee begins to attack Chaplin, and Allen intervenes on his behalf. With the ladies locked in battle, the men, realizing that they are lodge brothers, steal money from their wives' purses and escape to a nearby cafe. At the cafe they cause a commotion, both eventually bunking down to sleep on the cafe floor. By now the wives have discovered that they've been robbed and have banded together to look for Chaplin and Arbuckle. They arrive at the cafe but the boys escape and stagger to a park. Just before the wives and the outraged cafe patrons can catch them, they take a rowboat from a couple at the park and row out to the middle of the lake, where they lay down to sleep. Unfortunately, the boat has a leak and both men go down with the ship. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Cruel, Cruel Love
In his eighth film for Keystone Charlie Chaplin, in frock coat and bushy mustache, is cast in the role of a melodramatic lover who attempts suicide over his lost love. The film is a farce, a parody of the overacted melodramas of the day. Mr. Dovey (Chaplin) is first seen on his knees proposing in the drawing room of his lady (Minta Durfee). The couple are overheard and mocked by the lady's maid, whose laughter causes Minta to eject her from the house. To get back at her boss, she arranges a hoax with the gardener. She feigns injury and her cries bring the departing Dovey to her aid. When Minta sees her maid flirting with Dovey, she rejects him in a jealous rage. Back at home the despondent Dovey drinks what he thinks is poison; only his highly amused butler knows it was just water. Waiting for the poison to take effect, Dovey has horrifying visions of his eternal damnation. Meanwhile, Minta has learned of her maid's deception and has sent the gardener to Dovey with a letter of apology. "It's too late. I've been poisoned," says Dovey and the gardener goes back to retrieve Minta to be at her dying man's side. Dovey now summons doctors to save him, drinking all the milk he can with evident distaste. When the physicians arrive, the butler lets them in on the joke and they play along too, jokingly examining him. Minta, having raced to her man's home, learns of the hoax and tells Dovey he's going to live. First relieved, then enraged, he attacks all the pranksters and finally embraces his lady, removing from his fingers a ball of hair he had pulled from his head and blowing it away. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Kid Auto Races at Venice
Cure
Those Love Pangs
Charlie Chaplin's 28th Keystone comedy pits him against Chester Conklin as rival for the attentions of their landlady Gene Marsh and for Chester's girlfriend Cecile Arnold. After the midday meal, each of the rivals tries to chat up the landlady, only to be prevented by the other. They decide to go out together to prevent a fight but split up as Charlie stops in front of a bar while Chester proceeds to a park. Charlie is distracted, however, by a passing beauty who gives him the eye. He follows her a bit but is put off by the lady's large boyfriend. Going on to the park, Charlie has a confrontation with the large boyfriend and observes Chester's meeting with his girlfriend, who is incredibly solicitous. She begs for affection and even gives Chester money, much to Charlie's amazement and envy. Charlie eventually dispatches both boyfriends and follows the girls to a movie theatre where, sitting between them, he charms the pair of beauties, making some rather amusing gestures with his feet. The boyfriends show up and replace the girls in their seats while Charlie dozes. A fight ensues in which Charlie is thrown through the movie screen. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

His Musical Career
Charlie Chaplin's musical career is as a piano mover for a music store in this, his 31st comedy for Keystone. The film was a direct inspiration for Laurel and Hardy's 1932 short, The Music Box. His Little Fellow is not a tramp but a hard-working laborer. Charlie is first seen applying for his job, being examined, muscles and even teeth, by Mack Swain. In the showroom, we see Mr. Rich (Fritz Schade) deciding to buy a piano from salesman Charley Chase, and a few moments later, Mr. Poor being threatened that his piano will be repossessed if he can't make his payments. Mack and Charlie are sent to deliver the one piano and pick up the other, for which, of course, they will mix up the addresses. As they take the piano outside, Mack pulls Charlie along the showroom floor, as Charlie smiles to the camera, expressing his delight in a free ride. They load the piano onto the horse-drawn wagon. At one point the slope is so severe that when Mack leans to the back of the wagon, the donkey is lifted right off the ground. Arriving at Mr. Poor's house the residents are delighted that they seem to be receiving a free piano, as Charlie carries the piano on his back and must be straightened out by boss Mack. Next, the movers proceed to Mr. Rich's house and proceed to take his piano, over the objections of Mrs. Rich Cecile Arnold. Mr. Rich arrives as Charlie and Mack get the piano out to the sidewalk. A kick to Mack's backside sends Charlie, Mack, and the piano skidding down a steep hill, and to Mr. Rich's horror, into Echo Lake in Westlake Park where Charlie plays some last notes before they begin to sink. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The Star Boarder
In Charlie Chaplin's ninth Keystone comedy, Charlie is the star boarder in Minta Durfee's rooming house. We first see his Tramp's shoes as he lies in bed, a shot probably inserted to draw applause, a sign that the character was gaining popularity. He gets preferential treatment at the dinner table, much to the chagrin of the landlady's husband. After lunch Minta and Charlie go out to play tennis. Charlie, taking a left-handed baseball swing, sends the ball into the bushes. They go together to look for the ball and begin to flirt. Minta's son mischievously takes their picture with a box camera as Minta straightens Charlie's tie. Edgar has followed them and found the ball. His arrival breaks up the flirtation in a flurry of ball-searching. Edgar then goes off and encounters one of the female boarders (Alice Davenport), who accidentally hits her head and collapses into Edgar's arms. This too is photographed by the boy. Later the boy sets up his slide projector and gets a boarder to hang a sheet for a screen. With everyone in attendance the slide show proceeds until the photo of Alice and Edgar brings scowls from Minta and laughter from Charlie. However the next slides of Charlie and Minta infuriate Edgar who attacks Charlie, and a general melee ensues during which the boy gets a spanking from his mother while Charlie finally bests Edgar. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

The Floorwalker
Charlie Chaplin launched his 670,000-dollar contract with the Mutual Film Corporation with the hilarious The Floorwalker. The film's chief comedic device, the store escalator, was inspired by Chaplin's visit to New York, where, at an elevated train station, he saw a minor accident involving one. The manager of the store receives a letter -- his superiors are coming to investigate him. He's been skimming money from the store, in cahoots with the bossy and mean floorwalker who bears a striking resemblance to Charlie. The pair decide they're going to take off with the cash and begin emptying the safe in the office upstairs. Meanwhile, Charlie comes wandering into the store, trying out everything but buying nothing. The store seems to be infested with shoplifters and store detectives. Charlie gets caught by one of the latter when he tries to buy a display rack. He escapes upstairs where he encounters his doppelganger who has just knocked out the manager and is escaping with a suitcase full of money. The lookalikes do the classic mirror routine, copied later by the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup. They agree to exchange clothes and identities, but the real floorwalker is arrested as the Tramp, leaving behind the satchel full of loot. Charlie takes over the floorwalker's duties, getting involved with various customers, especially the ladies in the shoe department. When Charlie finds the case, he's ecstatic, until Eric Campbell awakens and, mistaking him for his crooked partner, begins a merry chase up and down the escalator and all around the store, hampered only by the ever-vigilant store detectives. The real floorwalker returns in custody and comes clean, implicating the manager. The chase continues until Charlie is caught in the elevator by a detective as it descends upon the head of Campbell who is also apprehended. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

Making a Living
This typical Keystone slapstick comedy was Charlie Chaplin's first appearance on film. An Englishman (Chaplin) cons a newspaper reporter (Henry Lehrman) out of some money. The Englishman flirts with a young woman who later turns out to be the reporter's girlfriend, and the reporter and the Englishman fight. Later, the Englishman talks his way into a job at the same newspaper where the reporter works. When the reporter takes some photos of an automobile accident as it happens, the reporter and the Keystone Kops help the driver, and the Englishman steals the photos. He rushes them back to the paper, and they are immediately put in the latest edition. The newspaperman catches up with him, and they begin fighting in the street, and the film ends as a streetcar cowcatcher sweeps them up. Chaplin is barely recognizable in this film, sporting a monocle, a top hat, and a walrus moustache. While this costume had been used in his stage appearances, he quickly realized that it was not appropriate for a film comedian. He would devise his famous costume of the tramp in his next film Mabel's Strange Predicament. Chaplin was unhappy when he saw the finished film because many of the gags that he had performed had been cut out by Lehrman, the director. However, this is typical of Mack Sennett's Keystone comedies, where there is a lot of running around and fighting, and not a lot of funny gags. ~ Bruce Calvert, Rovi

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