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

SKU:6957368
Release Date:03/30/2004
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$19.99

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    Overview

    Ratings & Reviews


    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (4 out of 4)

    Special Features


    • Digitally mastered
    • Interactive menus
    • Chapter selections

    Synopsis


    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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 Pawnshop
    Charlie Chaplin's sixth film for the Mutual Film Corporation is a marvel of sight gags, comic transformations and brilliant pantomime. Charlie plays an assistant in a pawnshop, where he arrives late for work and is scolded by the portly Pawnbroker, played by Henry Bergman in his first role in a Chaplin film. Bergman was to go on to play in most of the Chaplin films through Modern Times, also filling the roles of Assistant Director, gagman and confidant. Charlie annoys his rival employee (John Rand) with his dusting and a series of conflicts between them arise. They must go outside and clean the store front, and Charlie, trapping Rand between the rungs of a ladder, performs a ballet-like boxing scene, striking his helpless opponent until a cop arrives on the scene, whereupon Charlie's movements become the most graceful of dances. Back inside the shop, their fight escalates until the Pawnbroker enters and angrily discharges Charlie. The little fellow's heart-breaking pleas for forgiveness, during which he mimes that he has many children ranging in height from about two to seven feet, cause the boss to relent. Alone again, Charlie renews his attack on Rand with vigor, but just as he's about to deliver the coup de grace, Edna Purviance, the boss' daughter, enters from the back room curious as to the commotion. Charlie swiftly lays down on the floor and Edna scolds the near-unconscious Rand for striking "a mere child," patting Charlie's cheek as he admires her figure. She takes him into the kitchen and gives him a doughnut, which Chaplin's wonderful pantomime ability makes us believe weighs 20 pounds, as he exercises with it as if it were a dumbbell. When Rand enters, the fight resumes, but hearing the racket the boss comes in and Charlie quickly resumes his role as baker then goes to the safe to retrieve his lunch. Manning the shop Charlie encounters three customers, the first an old actor wanting to pawn his late wife's ring for five dollars. His histrionics touch Charlie deeply. He gives the bereaved man 10 dollars from the till and the ring back as well. When the man offers to gives Charlie change and pulls out huge wad of bills, Charlie knows he's been had. Meanwhile, another customer arrives wishing to pawn an alarm clock. In a long, brilliant scene of comic transformations, better seen than described, Charlie becomes surgeon, jeweller, ribbon clerk and mechanic as he dismantles and destroys the clock to the total amazement of the customer, Albert Austin. Gathering the detritus of the ruined timepiece and sweeping them into Austin's derby, Charlie rejects the item, sending the protesting customer packing with a blow from a rubber hammer. His next customer is a lady with a bowl of goldfish, which Charlie tests for authenticity by pouring muriatic acid (the famous "acid test") into the bowl. The boss emerges and he sends the lady away. Meanwhile Charlie and Rand are at it again, and a flying wad of dough catches both boss and crook in the face. The boss chases Charlie from the kitchen, whereupon Charlie hides in a trunk to avoid punishment. Just then the crook emerges from the safe, gun drawn, stolen diamonds under his arm and holds the others at bay. Charlie heroically emerges from the trunk, and in balletic movements, smashes the crook over the head, embraces Edna, receives a pat on the back from the boss and delivers one final back kick to his rival. ~ Phil Posner, 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

    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

    Kid Auto Races at Venice
    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

    Shoulder Arms
    Shoulder Arms was Charlie Chaplin's final contribution to the World War I effort, along with his personal appearances selling Liberty Bonds and his film The Bond. It was released shortly before the end of the war, and Chaplin made prints available to soldiers fighting overseas, for which he was lauded for cheering the severely tested troops. Charlie is a member of the "Awkward Squad" and we first see him being put through his paces in training camp. He has problems with making a proper about-face and with marching, his out-turned feet, constantly annoying his drill sergeant. Exhausted after a hard drill, he collapses on his cot. "Over there," somewhere in France, the troops are engaged in trench warfare, and Chaplin gives the audience a hilarious view on the difficulties experienced by the troops -- flooded quarters (which he shares with a sergeant played by brother Sydney Chaplin), constant shelling, sniping and homesickness. In a touching scene, a mail-less Charlie reads a letter from home over the shoulder of another soldier and on his face we can see his emotional reactions to the good and bad news that the soldier reads. Charlie is sent over the top and ends up capturing a squad of German soldiers single-handedly. His next foray, in the guise of a tree, provides a wonderful look at Chaplin's pantomime talents as he "becomes" a tree each time the enemy soldiers approach. Escaping the enemy squad he hides in a bombed-out house where a French girl, Edna Purviance, lives. She discovers him in her bed and tends to his wounds. Soon they're beset by the enemy squad, searching for Charlie. In the chase, they collapse the rickety house and Charlie escapes, but Edna is arrested for aiding the enemy. Meanwhile Charlie's sergeant buddy is captured while attempting to telegraph information on the enemy to the allied camp. Edna and Sydney are both brought to the enemy headquarters and Edna is threatened by the evil commandant. Charlie, sneaking down the chimney of the commandant's house, rescues Edna from his advances and locks him in a closet. At that moment the Kaiser, Crown Prince and their General arrive at the camp. Charlie, rushing to the closet, takes the commandant's uniform and impersonates him. Taking charge of Edna and escorting her outside, he is recognized by his captive buddy, and the three of them overcome and restrain the Kaiser's driver and guards and replace them. When the Kaiser and the others enter the limousine, the allies drive them off to the American camp, where Charlie is hailed as a hero and is hoisted on the shoulders of his comrades. But it was all a dream - in classic Chaplinesque-style Charlie is shaken awake by his drill sergeant -- still in boot camp! ~ 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

    Mabel's Strange Predicament
    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

    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
    The Adventurer was Charlie Chaplin's last film in his contract for Lone Star/Mutual, and it is the fastest paced, with its opening and closing chases which are the apotheosis of the Keystone-style rally. It begins with a manhunt filmed on the coast near Santa Monica, California. (During the filming Chaplin rescued a seven-year-old girl from drowning after she had been swept into the waters from a rock as she watched). The police are after an escaped convict (Chaplin) who appears out of the sand beside a resting prison guard (Frank J. Coleman). Soon five guards are chasing Charlie over and through the hills and crags of the rough seacoast. The chase ends with Charlie taking to the ocean where he steals a swimsuit from a boater. Meanwhile Edna Purviance and her suitor Eric Campbell are lunching at a seaside cafe and hear the cries of Edna's mother who has fallen off the pier into the ocean. Edna begs Eric to jump in and rescue her, but he refuses to risk his life and instead can only stand on the pier and cry for help. Edna bravely jumps in, but is no better a swimmer and is soon also yelling for rescue. As Eric yells from the pier, a swarthy seaman standing next to him yells along, and in the process breaks the railing, plunging them both in the drink. Charlie has meanwhile swum to shore but hearing the cries for help, he swims to the pier where mother, daughter and Eric are all treading water. The Little Fellow swims agilely between the three, deciding who to save first. He rescues Edna, who sends him down again for her mother and then for Eric, whom Charlie tows along to the pier by his beard. The ladies' chauffeur (played by Chaplin's own chauffeur, secretary and valet Toraichi Kono) aids in helping the ladies to their limousine, where Charlie explains that he heard their cries "from my yacht." When Eric is accidentally dumped back into the sea by Charlie, he foils Charlie's second rescue by kicking him off the ladder to the pier. At Edna's orders, Kono discovers the unconscious Charlie and carries him to the car. Waking in a strange bed with bars on the headboard and dressed in someone else's striped pajamas, Charlie thinks he's back in prison until the butler enters with clothes for him. A party is under way in the household. The hero of the day introduces himself as Commodore Slick and meets Edna's father, Judge Brown, who eyes him suspiciously. Charlie is very interested in Edna, but also in all the free drinks. His rivalry with Eric soon escalates into covert kicking and seltzer squirting, until Eric finds Charlie's picture in a newspaper article about his escape. Before Eric can bring the article to Judge Brown's attention, Charlie cleverly draws Campbell's beard on the photo, allaying the judge's suspicions. Not to be denied, Campbell calls the authorities. Meanwhile Charlie samples the pleasures of the house, dancing with Edna and eating ice cream on a veranda. In a classic bit of pantomime, when Charlie accidentally drops his lump of ice cream down his pants front, we can trace the exact position of the freezing lump just by watching Chaplin's face. When the guards arrive, a marvellous chase sequence begins, upstairs and down, during which Charlie eludes capture. Jumping down from the balcony, one of the guards grabs Charlie who has paused to apologize to Edna for his deception. When the guard loosens his hold to shake hands with Edna, Charlie takes to his heels again as the picture ends. This last of Chaplin's 12 short masterpieces marked the end of Chaplin's most intensively creative period. "Fulfilling the Mutual Contract, I suppose, was the happiest period of my career, he wrote. "I was light and unencumbered, 27-years old, with fabulous prospects and a friendly, glamorous world before me. Within a short time I would be a millionaire. It all seemed slightly mad." Eric Campbell, who holds a special place in the Chaplin lexicon, appeared in only 11 Chaplin films. He was tragically killed in an auto accident in December, 1917 at age 37. Chaplin tried and failed to replace Campbell. He instead changed his approach to the villain in his films, later to be supplanted by aspects of society at large. Chaplin's David was never the same without his true Goliath. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

    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

    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

    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

    The Vagabond
    Charlie Chaplin's third film in his Mutual period is his first minor masterpiece. It combines comedy and drama in the style that Chaplin had developed in his earlier Essanay film The Tramp and anticipates later dramatic comedies such as The Kid and City Lights. Charlie plays an itinerant violinist whose famous feet we first see emerging from the swinging doors of a saloon. He takes up his position outside the back door and begins his concert, but at this moment a street band begins playing outside the front door. When Charlie enters the saloon to pass the hat, the patrons, believing he's part of the band, contribute generously. When the real band leader enters to pass his hat, a fight and chase begin from which Charlie eventually escapes. The audience is now introduced to "The Mother," an obviously upper-class woman who interrupts her embroidering and looks longingly at a photograph of her long-lost child. Charlie, having forsaken the city, wanders down a country road where he comes upon a gypsy encampment where a beautiful drudge (Edna Purviance), under the control of the brutal Gypsy Chief (Eric Campbell) is washing clothes. Charlie plays a concert for his audience of one, the fast tempo causing the girl to scrub her laundry at a lightning pace and his soulful playing evoking her strong emotions. The concert is interrupted by the Chief, who pushes Charlie into a water basin and beats the girl severely for shirking her duties. Seeing this brutality, Charlie puts aside his cane and violin in favor of a stout club and rescues the girl in an exciting scene in which they dramatically escape in one of the wagons. Later, encamped by the side of a road, Charlie prepares breakfast while the girl goes for water. She meets a handsome artist (Lloyd Bacon), who, noticing a shamrock shaped birthmark on her arm, asks her to pose for him. After he finishes his sketch, she invites him to breakfast. During the meal, it's obvious from her face that she's infatuated with him, and Charlie is aware that he's losing her. When the artist leaves, the girl gazes longingly after him as Charlie watches her apprehensively. Some time later, the painting is exhibited in a posh gallery and the Mother, in attendance, almost collapses as she recognizes her daughter by her birthmark. Meanwhile Charlie tries to cheer up the despondent girl by promising that he'll learn to draw too. Suddenly a limousine pulls up and mother and daughter are reunited. Charlie gallantly refuses a cash reward and wishes the artist luck just before they drive off. Alone, Charlie tries to cheer himself but succumbs to his emotions. In the limousine the girl realizes her true feelings and makes the driver return to Charlie, whom she excitedly hauls off to the limousine and to a presumed life of luxury. This was not the ending originally planned for the film, in which Chaplin was going to have the Tramp attempt a drowning suicide, only to be rescued by a homely farm girl, and seeing her, jumping back in again. Fortunately, he opted for the happier, more optimistic ending. ~ 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 Kid
    The Kid was Charles Chaplin's first self-produced and directed feature film; 1914's 6-reel Tillie's Punctured Romance was a Mack Sennett production in which Chaplin merely co-starred. The story "with a smile and perhaps a tear," begins with unwed mother Edna Purviance leaving the Charity Hospital, babe in arms. Her burden is illustrated with a title card showing Christ bearing the cross. The father of the child is a poor artist who cares little for of his former lover, carelessly knocking her photo into his garret fireplace and cooly returning it there when he sees it is too badly damaged to keep. The mother sorrowfully leaves her baby in the back seat of a millionaire's limousine, with a note imploring whoever finds it to care for and love the child. But thieves steal the limo, and, upon discovering the baby, ditch the tot in an alleyway trash can. Enter Chaplin, out for his morning stroll, carefully selecting a choice cigarette butt from his well used tin. He stumbles upon the squalling infant and, after trying to palm it off on a lady with another baby in a carriage, decides to adopt the kid himself. Meanwhile Purviance has relented, but when she returns to the mansion and is told that the car has been stolen, she collapses in despair. Chaplin outfits his flat for the baby as best he can, using an old coffee pot with a nipple on the spout as a baby bottle and a cane chair with the seat cut out as a potty seat. Chaplin's attic apartment is a representation of the garret he had shared with his mother and brother in London, just as the slum neighborhood is a recreation of the ones he knew as a boy. Five years later, Chaplin has become a glazier, while his adopted son (the remarkable Jackie Coogan) drums up business for his old man by cheerfully breaking windows in the neighborhood. Purviance meanwhile has become a world famous opera singer, still haunted by the memory of her child, who does charity work in the very slums in which he now lives. Ironically, she gives a toy dog to little Coogan. Chaplin and Coogan's close calls with the law and fights with street toughs are easily overcome, but when Coogan falls ill, the attending doctor learns of the illegal adoption and summons the Orphan Asylum social workers who try to separate Chaplin from his foster son. In one of the most moving scenes in all of Chaplin's films, Chaplin and Coogan try to fight the officials, but Chaplin is subdued by the cop they have summoned. Coogan is roughly thrown into the back of the Asylum van, pleading to the welfare official and to God not to be separated from his father. Chaplin, freeing himself from the cop, pursues the orphanage van over the rooftops and, descending into the back of the truck, dispatches the official and tearfully reunites with his "son". Returning to check on the sick boy, Purviance encounters the doctor and is shown the note which she had attached to her baby five years earlier. Chaplin and Coogan, not daring to return home, settle in a flophouse for the night. The proprietor sees a newspaper ad offering a reward for Coogan's return and kidnaps the sleeping boy. After hunting fruitlessly, a grieving Chaplin falls asleep on his tenement doorstep and dreams that he has been reunited with the boy in Heaven (that "flirtatious angel" is Lita Grey, later Chaplin's second wife). Woken from his dream by the cop, he is taken via limousine to Purviance's mansion where he is welcomed by Coogan and Purviance, presumably to stay. Chaplin had difficulties getting The Kid produced. His inspiration, it is suggested was the death of his own first son, Norman Spencer Chaplin a few days after birth in 1919. His determination to make a serio-comic feature was challenged by First National who preferred two reel films, which were more quickly produced and released. Chaplin wisely gained his distributors' approval by inviting them to the studio, where he trotted out the delightful Coogan to entertain them. Chaplin's divorce case from his first wife Mildred Harris also played a part; fearing seizure of the negatives Chaplin and crew escaped to Salt Lake City and later to New York to complete the editing of the film. Chaplin's excellent and moving score for The Kid was composed in 1971 for a theatrical re-release, but used themes that Chaplin had composed in 1921. Chaplin re-edited the film somewhat for the re-release, cutting scenes that he felt were overly sentimental, such as Purviance's observing of a May-December wedding and her portrayal as a saint, outlined by a church's stained glass window. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

    Sunnyside
    Charlie Chaplin's third film in his First National contract is a simple story of country life, an idyll, which contains two separate dream sequences, a characteristic Chaplin story device. Charlie is a farm hand and general factotum at a combination farm, general store and hotel. His boss, Tom Wilson, drives him hard, waking him early to prepare breakfast while he sleeps in. Charlie has devised some labor-saving techniques, such as sitting a chicken on the frying pan so she can lay an egg in it, or milking the cow directly into the coffee cups. After Sunday breakfast, the boss goes off to church along with most of the town, while Charlie must tend to the cows. Charlie, reading the Bible, loses the herd as they stroll peacefully up a country road. He finds them in town and must shoo them out of various buildings. When the whole parish comes running out of the church, Charlie enters heroically and comes out riding the bull, which eventually dumps him in a stream below a wooden bridge. Unconscious, Charlie dreams of dancing through the meadows with four lovely wood nymphs, in a scene of balletic grace and humor. Awakened at the bottom of the stream, he's pulled out by four men including his boss, who kicks him all the way home. Sunday afternoon is Charlie's time for visiting his girl, Edna Purviance, bringing her flowers and a ring. Their romantic tryst is hampered by her mischievous teenage brother, until Charlie sends him out to play blindman's bluff in traffic. Then Edna's father (Henry Bergman) interrupts their musical interlude at the pump organ, ordering Charlie away. Back at the store/hotel Charlie is again scolded for being late. A traffic accident outside brings a new visitor, a "city slicker" who is injured and must stay at the hotel. He's attended to by a horse doctor and shown to his room by Charlie, who later sits down to rest. Later, the slicker is preparing to leave when Edna enters the store and attracts the handsome visitor who follows her out of the store. Worried by the competition, Charlie eventually arrives at Edna's, observing through a window his rival's fashionable ways -- the spats on his shoes, the handkerchief up his sleeve and the cigarette lighter in the handle of his walking stick. Seeing that he's losing Edna, Charlie returns home and tries to emulate his rival by putting old socks over the tops of his shoes and rigging a match to the end of a stick. When he visits Edna she rejects him, giving back his ring. Despondent, Charlie walks out to the street and stands in the way of an approaching car. The impact he feels, however, is from the boot of his boss as he awakens Charlie from his second reverie. The guest is really leaving this time, and when Edna enters the store, she gives the slicker's advances the cold shoulder as Charlie proclaims his devotion to her. He helps the slicker load his baggage into the car and receives a tip. Charlie and Edna celebrate his departure with a loving hug, as the camera irises in. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    Cure
    In Charlie Chaplin's 10th film in his series for Lone Star/Mutual, and one of the funniest, he plays a gentleman of means who is at a health spa to take the cure, presumably for his alcoholism. His costume is somewhat different from that of his classic Tramp's: he wears a light-colored jacket and a straw boater. The baggy pants and oversize shoes are there and his derby is in evidence in his trunk. The main feature of the sanatorium is the health-spring well, around which the rich guests sit and take the waters. Charlie is pushed onto the scene in a wheelchair and soon gets caught up in a revolving door, where he traps and incurs the anger of a large, gouty patient, Eric Campbell. Shown to his room by an attendant, he is present when his trunk is delivered and he checks the contents for damage -- bottle upon bottle of liquor, which astonishes the elderly bellhop who delivers it. Taken down to the well again he's cajoled by another attendant (Albert Austin) and a pretty nurse to try the waters, resulting in his immediate departure to his room for a drink. The bellhop has obviously been into the trunk, and Charlie ejects the old fellow. He makes his way downstairs where he encounters a beautiful fellow visitor (Edna Purviance), rescuing her from the advances of the amorous Campbell, almost getting himself thrown off the premises. Edna steps in to rescue him, refuting Campbell's protestations to the manager. Charlie is brought to the steam room/gymnasium, where a huge masseur, Henry Bergman, terrifies him as he works on a rubbery fellow-patient (actually a contortionist Chaplin hired for the part). He escapes damage himself as he mock-wrestles with the burly masseur and his assistant and pushes everyone, including Campbell, into the pool. Meanwhile the manager searches Charlie's room, and, finding the trunk full of liquor and the drunk bellhop in the bed, orders all the liquor thrown away. This is done by the now equally drunk Austin who has obviously been partaking of Charlie's stash. He throws the bottles out the window and into the health spa well. Now sober, Charlie departs the gym, but in the lobby there's a party going on -- the waters have had "a strange effect" and everyone but Charlie and Edna are drunk. Charlie rescues Edna again from the clutches of two aggressive drunks, and the two repair to the well to escape the festivities. Edna urges Charlie to drink from the spring to keep sober for her sake. Eagerly downing jug after glass of the spiked waters transforms Charlie, and he begins to chase Edna too, but he gets caught up in the revolving door and ends up revolving his way all the way to the gym and into the pool. The next morning the hangover reigns supreme over all the guests. Edna apologizes to Charlie for making him drink the water that was full of liquor, and at her entreaty, Charlie promises not to sample the waters again. The two walk off confidently, arm in arm, until Charlie steps into the well, bobbing up and down as the film fades out. ~ 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

    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

    Easy Street
    Arguably the best of Charlie Chaplin's 12 Lone Star/Mutual comedies, Easy Street gives us a look at the environment in which Chaplin grew up, the slums of South London. Indeed the title of the film is likely a reference to the street where Chaplin was born, East Street in Walworth. Charlie begins this film as he seldom does, as a truly down-and-out derelict, huddled sleeping at the steps of the Hope Mission. The sounds of a service in progress draws him wearily inside. After the sermon, he is entranced by the beautiful mission worker and organist, Edna Purviance and stays after the service. Inspired by their ministrations he vows to reform, returning the collection box he has slipped into his capacious pants. Out on Easy Street a gang is pummeling members of the police department, removing their uniforms for the coins in their pockets. Toughest of all is the Bully, Eric Campbell, who menaces the other toughs, taking the spoils for himself. Charlie, passing the Police Station sees the recruitment sign outside and eventually builds up his resolve sufficiently to apply. His beat is Easy Street. He encounters the Bully who threatens him and is impervious to the blows that Charlie delivers with his nightstick. In a display of his great strength, the bully bends a gas streetlamp in two, whereupon Charlie leaps on the Bully's back, covering his head with the lamp and turns on the gas. (Chaplin was injured during the filming of this scene; the lamp hit him across the bridge of the nose, holding up production for several days). As the Bully slumps to the ground, Charlie takes his pulse and decides to give him one more shot of gas for good measure. The squad is called to retrieve the unconscious Bully and Charlie is, for the moment, cock-of-the-walk, frightening away the other street toughs by simply spinning around to face them. His work also entails charity, as he helps a woman, (who turns out to be the Bully's wife) who has stolen food from a street vendor by stealing more food for her. Edna happens by and helps Charlie get her upstairs to her tenement flat. He's rewarded for his efforts by her ingratitude, nearly dropping a flower pot on his head. Edna takes Charlie across the way to another apartment where a couple have a large brood of children whom Charlie helps to feed by scattering bread crumbs among them as if he were feeding chickens. Meanwhile, the Bully awakens at the Police Station and despite multiple blows from the collective nightsticks of the cops, he escapes and returns to Easy Street. His fight with his wife draws Charlie from across the street and a chase begins, the Bully seeking revenge for his earlier capture. Charlie drops a stove on the Bully from a second-story window, knocking him out, but the street toughs capture Edna and toss her down some steps into a subterranean speakeasy. She is threatened there by a dope addict who injects himself with cocaine. Exiting the Bully's flat Charlie is mugged by the gang and himself tossed down into the cellar. Landing accidentally on the addict's upturned needle, Charlie becomes supercharged, defeating the junkie and all the denizens of the cellar, rescuing Edna. Peace is restored to Easy Street and a new mission is in evidence. The Bully and his wife, dressed in their finest, make their way to the services, under Charlie's approving eye. Edna approaches and Charlie greets her joyously and the pair stroll arm in arm towards the welcoming minister and missionary of The New Mission. ~ Phil Posner, Rovi

    The Bank
    Charlie Chaplin's 10th Essanay film marks a further development for him in story construction, gag development and the use of pathos along with physical comedy. Chaplin enters the bank importantly, strolls down a staircase and opens a large safe. He emerges carrying a mop and bucket and dons his janitor's uniform. He wanders into the lobby/reception area and accidentally puts his soaking mop into the top hat of a bond salesman, (Lawrence A. Bowes) who's waiting for the arrival of the Bank President. Hitting the salesman and a bank worker (Leo White) with the wet mop, he's chased away to the back office where he finds fellow janitor Billy Armstrong with whom a series of minor battles occur. Edna Purviance, a stenographer, arrives at work with a birthday present, a tie, for a cashier whose name is also Charles, Carl Stockdale. She types a note: "To Charles with love from Edna." Chaplin finds the note and tie and assumes they're for him, and it's clear he loves Purviance. He brings her a bouquet of flowers and leaves a note "To Edna with love, Charlie." The bank president arrives and rejects the bond salesman's pitch and the angry salesman vows revenge. As the salesman stands dazed, Chaplin, told to mail a letter, indicates that he doesn't look well, takes his pulse and tells him to stick out his tongue, on which Chaplin moistens the postage stamp. The Cashier comes in to thank Purviance for the tie and tells her that it wasn't he who left the flowers, but Charlie the Janitor. Angry, Purviance calls Chaplin a fool and, unaware that he's watching through the door, throws the flowers into a trash basket. Crushed, Chaplin retrieves the flowers, goes back downstairs to the vault and sits down to rest. Shortly afterward, the bond salesman along with four seedy crooks enter the bank. Two of them go upstairs and see the president, Purviance and the Cashier counting money. When Purviance and Charles head downstairs to the vault, they hold up the president. The other three intercept Charles and Purviance downstairs. At the first opportunity, Charles pushes Purviance over and runs away, but he's held at gunpoint by one of the crooks as the other tussles with the president. Meanwhile her screams have awakened Chaplin and he rescues her, kicking three of the crooks into the safe and locking it as Purviance collapses. Carrying her over one shoulder, he climbs the stairs and rescues the cashier by disarming the crook. He then takes care of the other thief, rescuing the president. When the police have the robbers in custody, Chaplin is congratulated by the president. He wanders into the office and takes the flowers out of his coat. Purviance enters and picks up the flowers, smiling, and the look of love and hope on Chaplin's face is truly angelic. They embrace, but just then the camera crossfades -- it was all a dream, and Chaplin awakens in the vault kissing a mop. As the picture fades, he wanders off screen holding the flowers. ~ 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

    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 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




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