The Chaplin Mutuals, volume 2
A collection of silent films made by Charlie Chaplin during his time at Mutual Film Corporation, one of his most productive periods. In most of these shorts, the Little Tramp interacts with Edna Purviance, as his love interest, and Eric Campbell as his antagonist. Short included are The Count, The Vagabond, The Fireman, and Behind the Screen.
- The Count
Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp is working as a tailor, who burns the pants of the rich Count whom he works for. Charlie is summarily fired. Finding a party invitation in the Count’s pants, Charlie crashes the party disguised as the Count, vying for Edna Purviance’s affections against Eric Campbell. And all is ruined when the real Count arrives
- The Vagabond
A plotline very similar to Chaplinâs feature-length film, The Circus. Charlie the Little Tramp hides out in the country, only to rescue a girl (Edna Purviance) from a band of gypsies (led by Eric Campbell). The girl later has her picture painted by an artist, which a rich woman recognizes as her long-lost granddaughter. The women are reunited, but Charlie mistakenly thinks that the girl and the artist have fallen in love, and he leaves, forsaking his own feelings for the girl for her happiness.
- The Fireman
In The Fireman, Charlie Chaplin is an inept fireman, bullied and eventually fired by his chief, Eric Campbell. Later, when Eric has been bribed to let a house burn down in an insurance scheme, with Eric’s girlfriend (Edna Purviance) trapped in the building. It’s Charlie to the rescue!
- Behind the Screen
An early satire on the film industry, where Charlie is an overworked stagehand, abused by Eric Campbell, who falls in love with Edna Purviance who has disguised herself as a man in order to get a job. The other workers eventually revolt, and destroy the movie studio
Editorial review of The Chaplin Mutuals, volume 2
Charlie Chaplin refined his trademark character the Little Tramp through his short films at Mutual Studios with the help of his two key costars: burly, barrel-chested Eric Campbell, his hulking physical opposite who forever played the bullying nemesis (often behind a positively demonic beard), and sweet-faced Edna Purviance, the alternately demure and plucky innocent he’s forever courting, saving, or simply mooning over.
In The Count, Chaplin and Campbell crash a society bash under false identities to woo a rich lovely, but Chaplin soon reverts to his impulsive instincts and turns the posh gathering into an anarchic free-for-all. The Vagabond, Chaplin’s second Mutual short, is a rural melodrama of a young girl saved from abusive guardians by the resourceful Tramp. Favoring pathos over slapstick, it looks forward to the sentimental melodrama of his features to come. As a lowly menial in The Fireman, Chaplin is cheerfully oblivious to the chaos he causes to the ordered firehouse and still manages to emerge a hero. Finally, Behind the Screen thumbs a nose at the movies in general and Mack Sennett (Chaplin’s old boss) in particular with a lampoon of the studios that concludes with the invention of the pie fight (“I don’t like this highbrow stuff,” comments one victim).
Equal parts class clown, downtrodden social outcast, and sentimental softy, Chaplin’s continued appeal lies not merely in his comic invention but his dogged defiance of authority, class, and convention, and these classic shorts preserve the edginess he smoothed out in later features. –Sean Axmaker
Product Description of The Chaplin Mutuals, volume 2
Features four films made for the Mutual Film Company: The Count, The Vagabond, The Fireman, and Behind the Screen. Includes new digital stereo scores by Michael Mortilla.