Charlie Chaplin Mutuals (1916-1917)
Some of Charlie Chaplin‘s funniest comedies were the short films that he made for the Mutual Film Corporation. This collection of short films includes some of his best, most with his frequent co-stars Edna Purviance and Eric Campbell.
The DVD includes twelve short films directed and written by Charlie Chaplin, restored from premier quality original 35mm film, with additions and improvements from new film materials which have surfaced. Extras include The Gentleman Tramp, the 1975 feature-length film. Also included is Chaplin’s Goliath, the 1996 documentary of Eric Campbell, the huge Scottish actor who achieved screen immortality as the ‘heavy’ in the Chaplin Mutual comedies, as well as The Mutual-Chaplin Specials, Making The Gentleman Tramp, Stills Gallery containing more than ninety rare images, many of them behind-the-scenes shots never before published.
The 12 short films included on the DVD are:
- The Floorwalker
Charlie Chaplin’s first Mutual Film Company film was The Floorwalker, made in 1916. It was also Charlie Chaplinâs first turn as a movie producer. It starred the Tramp as a customer in a department store who finds out the manager is stealing money from the store. It is probably most famous for Chaplin’s attempt to use an escalator, to hilarious results
- 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!
- The Vagabond
A plotline very similar to Chaplin’s feature-length film, The Circus. Charlie the 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.
- One A.M.
Charlie Chaplin does not play the Tramp in this movie, but rather his older character of the Inebriate, trying to get into bed, and fighting with every imaginable inanimate object trying to prevent it.
- 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 Pawn Shop
Charlie the Tramp is working in a pawnshop, and when Charlie is not taking apart an alarm clock to determine whether it works (ruining it in the process – this is a classic Charlie Chaplin moment) or coming up with comic bits, he’s getting in trouble with his boss, the pawnbroker (Henry Bergman), whose daughter (Edna Purviance) he is in love with. The inept Charlie is fired, but redeems himself by capturing a burglar (Eric Campbell)
- 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
- The Rink
A hilarious short that has Charlie Chaplin puts him on roller skates for a ballet on wheelsâand Eric Campbell is wonderful as the âheavyâ
- Easy Street
As a rookie cop in the city’s toughest neighborhood, a slum overrun with bullies, drug addicts, and gangsters, the good-hearted Chaplin isn’t above a little unconventional policing. When his billy club proves ineffective on gargantuan Eric Campbell’s thick skull, he resorts to gassing him with a compliant street lamp.
- The Cure
When The Tramp goes to a sanatorium in order to give up drinking, he comes prepared with a trunk full of alcohol. The revolving door becomes a comic centerpiece (like the escalator in The Floorwalker), which befuddles the inebriated Chaplin and infuriates gout-stricken nemesis Eric Campbell.
- The Immigrant
Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp comes to America, on a rolling boat. Having to contend with poverty and a head waiter, only to get the girl and live happily ever after
- The Adventurer
This film finds Charlie as an escaped convict who hides out in a high society party crawling with cops.