Showing posts with label Al Ernest Garcia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Al Ernest Garcia. Show all posts

Friday, 4 January 2013

The Idle Class

Arriving on the back of his first great film The Kid, Charlie Chaplin’s The Idle Class feels weak and thin in comparison. The writer in Chaplin was struggling for ideas before he got the spark for The Kid and it almost feels as though he is back to square one while writing the two reel The Idle Class. A Tramp (Chaplin) gets off a train, and not how you’d expect him to, before heading for a day at the golf course. Meanwhile a wealthy wife (Edna Purviance) also disembarks expecting her well to do husband (also Chaplin) to meet her at the station but he is drunk at home. Following some hi jinks at the golf course there is a case of mistaken identity at a ball at which Edna takes the Tramp for her husband.

For me The Idle Class lacks the depth which made The Kid great and also lacks the direction and laughs that are found in the likes of A Dog's Life or Shoulder Arms. It occasionally takes a more dramatic route but this often fails to match even Sunnyside for dramatic narrative. The film is saved by a middle act on the golf course which is brilliantly inventive and funny but is unfortunately bookended by a beginning and end which did little for me.  

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The Circus

A Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) is mistaken for a pickpocket and chased through a circus by the police. Once in the big top he outwits the cops and gets more laughs in doing so than the circus clowns so is offered a job by the ringmaster (Al Ernest Garcia). On his first morning at work the tramp meets a beautiful young dancer (Merna Kennedy) who is hungry after being punished by the ringmaster who is also her father. The tramp falls instantly in love and shares what little food he has. Despite being a hit with the audience the tramp is unaware and like the dancer is mistreated by the ringmaster. No sooner does he become self aware he begins to act with hubris, making working conditions better for himself and his love. The tramp’s intentions are soon interrupted however with the arrival of a handsome young tightrope walker (Harry Crocker).

Almost forgotten by Chaplin and his audience for sixty years, more recently The Circus has become known as one of actor/director’s defining works. Featuring some of his best comic creations and earning points for the sheer hardship of production, The Circus is amongst Chaplin’s better films and ranks as one of my favourites.