Showing posts with label Ernest Van Pelt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ernest Van Pelt. Show all posts

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

By the Sea

While on a windy beach The Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) turns his attention to two married women and ends up getting in trouble with their husbands. This film feels like a bit of a step back after Chaplin’s previous films. It feels much closer to His New Job than the likes of The Champion or The The Tramp in that it is a knockabout comedy and a farce which lacks character development. Despite this there is still much to like.

I especially enjoyed Chaplin’s use of string attached to his jacket and hat which stops his hat blowing away in the wind. It’s a great idea and it’s almost a shame it didn’t catch on! The idea is used successfully in a couple of ways; Firstly in a scene in which Chaplin and Billy Armstrong get their strings intertwined and end up tangled up and inevitably fighting and in a second scene while trying to woo Bud Jamison’s wife. In this scene Chaplin manipulates the string behind his back to make it seem as though the hat is jumping off his head. It’s a simple, clever and very funny idea.

Apart from those two examples and a brief fight involving ice creams there isn’t much else of note in this film. There are of course Bud Jamison’s over the top eyebrows and the background setting of an almost deserted Los Angeles beach is quite interesting but compared to Chaplin’s later films this feels a little weak.


Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Tramp

A Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) is on the road when he rescues a farmer’s daughter (Edna Purviance) from thieves out to steal her money. As a reward the Tramp is taken in and offered work by Edna’s father (Ernest Van Pelt). On the farm the Tramp is asked to halt a second attempt by the criminals and ends up in a love triangle.

This was Chaplin’s 6th Essanay film and the first I had seen before watching the studios output in full. It marks the first time that the Tramp is seen fully formed although Chaplin had played the character before. Here the tramp is a much more rounded character and although he still looks out for number one he is more inclined to help others and in fact ends up leaving the farm so that he doesn’t get in the way of Edna and her boyfriend. This is a quite different Tramp from say In the Park and The Champion.

Friday, 8 June 2012

A Jitney Elopement

Edna (Edna Purviance) has been betrothed to a rich Count by her father (Ernest Van Pelt) but she already has a secret love, The Tramp (Charlie Chaplin). Edna persuades her love to save her and he impersonates the Count at tea with Edna and her father. Once the Count (Leo White) turns up with his fantastical facial hair The Tramp is thrown out. Later in a park the foursome come together again and the two young lovers attempt to elope in an act that brings about a prolonged car chase.

There are two very distinct halves to this film and I believe that the first half is amongst Chaplin’s best Essanay work to date. Having come off In the Park which was fast and a little bit messy, the first half of A Jitney Elopement was surprisingly slow, calm and more reminiscent of his later feature films. The second half though features a full on frenetic car chase which takes place in and around San Francisco and makes this Chaplin’s most sprawling film to date. The title incidentally comes from the type of vehicle that the couple attempt to run away in – a kind of shared taxi.

Friday, 1 June 2012

In the Park

Chaplin’s first one reel farce for Essanay is set in a park. A lady has her handbag stolen by a thief who then attempts to steal Chaplin’s sausages. Chaplin ends up with the bag and it goes from person to person with each usually ending up with a brick to the face or foot to the bottom until one man tries to kill himself and another ends up in Police custody.

For such a short film In the Park has a surprisingly large cast. Chaplin regulars such as Edna Purviance, Leo White, Ernest Van Pelt and Bud Jamison all appear along with three or four other bit players. Considering the film is only fourteen minutes long it feels like a lot happens and is more reminiscent of Chaplin’s Keystone pictures rather than say The Champion which was released just a week earlier than this.

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Champion

Chaplin’s third Essanay picture and he finally appears to have found his feet with the new studio. Chaplin’s tramp, destitute and famished spots a sign offering money to act as a sparring partner. He watches as three men go in before him and return battered and bruised. Chaplin however has a trick up his sleeve or rather in his glove; a lucky horseshoe, which he uses to knock out his larger, more adept opponent. Spotting his potential a trainer prepares the slight Chaplin for a big fight against the champion Bob Uppercut (Bud Jamison) but Chaplin has other things on his mind, namely the trainer’s daughter Edna Purviance.

I was so glad that this film was good. I was really disappointed with Chaplin’s first two Essanay films His New Job and A Night Out. This is a real return to form. The idea was actually taken from a Fred Karno sketch that Chaplin performed before entering the movie industry. Perhaps one of the reasons for the film’s success is that Chaplin knew what he was doing before he went in rather than partially making it up as he went along.