This film is most famous for Chaplin’s cross-dressing, something that must have been quite brave and scandalous 97 years ago. For a twenty-first century audience it isn’t particularly shocking or even funny so you have to imagine a late Edwardian audience’s reaction in order to understand its significance.
Monday, 2 July 2012
Charlie Chaplin’s ninth Essanay film is perhaps one of his most controversial. A Gentleman (Chaplin) is out walking through a park when he comes across a family (Charles Inslee, Marta Golden & Edna Purviance). The father, Inslee has his attention drawn towards a flirt (Margie Reiger). Reiger blindfolds Inslee after suggesting a game of hide and seek. Chaplin meanwhile discovers the blinded man and leads him towards a lake where he pushes him in. Later Chaplin comes across Golden and Purviance who fall for the cheeky chappy and invite him home. When Inslee arrives home soaking wet to find his attacker in the house Chaplin resorts to disguising himself in an unorthodox manner.
Friday, 29 June 2012
Izzy Wake (Charles Inslee) a paperhanger and his assistant (Charlie Chaplin) slowly make their way to the house of Billy Armstrong and Marta Golden where they are due to hang wall paper. After experiencing difficulty even getting to the house, once they get there things go from bad to worse.
This film made me laugh, a lot, but overall it was messy – much like the on screen action. I didn’t really get any sense of who any of the characters were and to be honest apart from inhabiting the house at the centre of the story, Billy Armstrong and Marta Golden’s characters weren’t really necessary. They and Leo White were only really used during the films frenetic ending which is somewhere between a chase and a farce. That being said, there is still much to like about this Chaplin Essanay effort.