The Chaplin Mutuals, volume 3
- The Floorwalker
Charlie Chaplin’s first Mutual Film Company film was The Floorwalker, made in 1916. It was also Charlie Chaplin’s 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
- 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 Rink
A hilarious short that has Charlie Chaplin puts him on roller skates for a ballet on wheels. And Eric Campbell is wonderful as the “heavy”.
- The Pawn Shop
Charlie the Tramp is working in a pawnshop. 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)
Editorial review of The Chaplin Mutuals, volume 3
By 1916 Charlie Chaplin was the most popular comic actor in America, but it was the 12 brilliant comedy shorts he directed during his 16 months at Mutual Studios that turned Chaplin from an inventive comedian to one of the greatest directors of the American cinema. “Fulfilling the Mutual Contract, I suppose, was the happiest period of my life,” he wrote in his autobiography, and no wonder: with unprecedented freedom, an enormously lucrative contract, and a company of creative artists at his personal disposal, Chaplin turned the studio set into his creative playground.
Always one to latch on to the comic possibilities of inventive props, he turned an escalator into the centerpiece of The Floorwalker, his first film for the studio, where his rapscallion clerk continually incites the store’s crooked manager (Eric Campbell). In One A.M., Chaplin steps out of the Tramp persona to play an inebriated gadfly at war with his home, battling everything from a staircase to a suit of armor to a resistant Murphy bed, all seemingly set on keeping him from getting to sleep. The Pawnshop shows the Tramp in a more aggressive role than we’re used to, goofing and playing practical jokes on his coworkers, while The Rink puts him on roller skates for a burlesque ballet on wheels.
Each short becomes a comic workshop as Chaplin investigates the slapstick possibilities of an array of props and situations while refining his persona as the down but not out everyman. –Sean Axmaker
Features four films made for the Mutual Film Company: One A.M., The Pawn Shop, The Floorwalker, The Rink. Includes new digital stereo scores by Michael Mortilla.