National Silent Movie Day: Charlie Chaplin Shorts (1916)
National Silent Movie Day
Wed, Sep 29 Only!
(1:00 4:00) 7:00
All Seats $8
"Watching Chaplin's Mutual Comedies is a revelation because one can witness a master filmmaker coming of age." - Los Angeles Times
"Gorgeous presentations of the most breathtakingly stunt-filled and funny pictures from what some consider Charlie Chaplin's most free-wheelingly creative period; these movies are legendary." - RogerEbert.com
2021 marks the 107th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin's first appearance as "The Little Tramp," his chaos-prone but balletically nimble underdog everyman, often unlucky, always plucky and, eventually, iconic the world over.
To celebrate National Silent Movie Day on Wednesday, September 29th, Rialto Cinemas presents a selection of Chaplin's most beloved films featuring his Tramp persona in gorgeous new restorations. Our program features six short films Chaplin made for the Mutual Film Corporation in 1916 after signing a then-unprecedented contract for $670,000 and being given complete creative control as writer, director, producer and star. Hailed as the cinema's first genius, Charlie Chaplin set the standard for silent screen comedy as a performer, writer and director. The iconic Little Tramp, his signature screen persona of the silent era, remains such an enduring figure that even today he is recognizable by just his silhouette. This brilliant comedian was, for a time, the single most popular entertainer on the planet, celebrated the world over, connecting with audiences in the universal language of silent screen comedy.
THE FLOORWALKER – 28 min. The 'Tramp' is a customer who creates chaos in a department store and becomes inadvertently entangled in the nefarious scheme of the store manager, played by Eric Campbell, and the store's floorwalker, played by Lloyd Bacon, to embezzle money from the establishment. Chaplin's first Mutual Film Corporation film.
THE FIREMAN – 25 min. A young girl's father arranges with the local fire chief to have his house burn down so he could collect on the insurance money. However, a real fire breaks out elsewhere in the town. The firemen ignore an inhabitant of the burning building as he tries to alert them to the fire. Eventually, a fireman (Chaplin) alerts the fire chief and the fire company goes to put out the fire. The father than realizes that his daughter is still in his own burning building, and the same heroic fireman climbs the outside of the building to save her. Chaplin's second Mutual Film.
ONE A.M. – 18 min. Chaplin plays a rich young man who has trouble navigating his way to bed after returning home from a night on the town. Inside the house, the furniture and other inanimate objects become almost insurmountable obstacles for the drunk. The first film Chaplin starred in alone, except for a brief scene of Albert Austin playing a cab driver. Chaplin's fourth Mutual film.
THE PAWNSHOP – 25 min. Chaplin plays an assistant in a pawnshop run by Henry Bergman. He engages in a slapstick battles with his fellow pawnshop assistant, deals with eccentric customers, and flirts with the pawnbroker's daughter, played by Edna Purviance. One customer, posing as a jewelry buyer, pulls a gun and tries to rob the place. Chaplin disarms him. Chaplin's sixth Mutual film.
BEHIND THE SCREEN – 24 min. The film takes place in a movie studio. A stagehand named David (Chaplin) has a supervisor, Goliath (Eric Campbell). Much of the film is slapstick comedy involving Chaplin manhandling large props, but other plotlines include a strike by the stagehands, and Edna Purviance, who is unable to become an actress, dressing as a man and becoming a stagehand. Chaplin's seventh Mutual film.
THE RINK – 24 min. After amusements working in a restaurant, Charlie uses his lunch break to go roller skating. Also starring Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Henry Bergman, and Albert Austin. Chaplin's eighth Mutual film. He would go on to make four more titles for Mutual in 1917.
Chaplin's Mutual Films have been restored by Lobster Films and Cineteca di Bologna, in collaboration with Film Preservation Associates and Association Chaplin. Program copy and images courtesy of Lobster Films and Flicker Alley.