Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Cure

An improvement on the comedy of Easy Street but a film with much more of a slapstick nature, The Cure finds Charlie Chaplin playing an inebriate who checks into a health spa in order to get sober. His huge suitcase though is full to bursting with bottles of liquor which find their way into the health spa’s well with disastrous consequences. Along the way Chaplin befriends Edna Purviance after saving her from the clutches of the wicked Eric Campbell.    

This is a short that is packed full of gags, some of which are a little repetitive but many hit the nail on the head. It also features a larger role for Chaplin regular John Rand who appears in most of Chaplin’s Mutual Films but usually just has a walk on role. In The Cure he has almost as much screen time as Campbell and Purviance but doesn’t make as much of an impact on the film as Chaplin’s two main collaborators. The story is tight but not wide reaching and is a lot more basic than many of the films from the same period, but what it lacks in story it makes up for with laughs. Chaplin’s dizziness following his turn in the revolving door also gave him the same symptoms as he showed nearly twenty years later in Modern Times when he ‘took’ cocaine. His walk and spinning was almost identical and equally amusing.

Early on Chaplin has a lot of fun with a revolving door and the scene is an example of his quest to get the most out of a prop before moving on to something else. His seemingly never ending revolving became a little tiresome after a while but he still managed to get some good comedy out of what is essentially a door. There was some great choreography in this scene too, as there was in my favourite scene in which Chaplin is sent for a pounding massage. Having seen the man before him be stretched, beaten and manipulated before being thrown in a pool, Chaplin tries to escape from the attention of the masseuse (Henry Bergman) using the slippery surfaces to his advantage. It’s a funny scene and features some great planning and direction. Another enjoyable scene came when Chaplin was attempting to get out of drinking the spa’s healthy water and accidentally spilt it in his hat. When he came to put on his hat he got soaked but was at a loss to explain where the water had come from so he blamed a toy dog. His look when he spotted the dog and looked back inside his hat was priceless.

The romantic thread appears about halfway through and remains an important aspect of the film but isn’t explored in such detail as in the likes of The Vagabond or The Count. Even still the romantic element was dealt with well and was as sweet as you’d expect from a Chaplin film. Overall The Cure is a fresh and funny two-reeler which packs in more than enough laughs into its short run time but lacks a little on the story side.  

GFR 8/10

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