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Getting Acquainted (1914)

 -  Short | Comedy  -  5 December 1914 (USA)
5.5
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 385 users  
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Charlie and his wife are walking in the park when they encounter Ambrose and his wife. The partners become fond of their counterparts and begin chasing each other around. A policeman ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Mr. Sniffels
Phyllis Allen ...
Mrs. Sniffels
Mack Swain ...
Ambrose
...
Ambrose's Wife
Harry McCoy ...
Flirt in Park
Edgar Kennedy ...
Policeman
Cecile Arnold ...
Mary - the Flirt
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Storyline

Charlie and his wife are walking in the park when they encounter Ambrose and his wife. The partners become fond of their counterparts and begin chasing each other around. A policeman looking for a professional Don Juan becomes involved, as does a Turk. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Details

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Release Date:

5 December 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Fair Exchange  »

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 »
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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Chaplin's first autobiography?
10 May 2007 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

A Fair Exchange is a strangely prophetic film about the troubles with women that Chaplin would encounter later in life. Having seen a few documentaries about Chaplin's life off screen, I always get the feeling that I can sense just under the surface (and even in his earliest films), his love not only of attention but of the amorous affections of women. A Fair Exchange concerns two married couples, one happy and one not so happy, in which the men ultimately meet and make passes at each other's wives, and soon find themselves being introduced to their would-be mistresses by their own wives.

As is probably to be expected, it is Chaplin who is clearly in a miserable marriage with what appears to be an angry, over-bearing wife, and it doesn't take long before he starts taking steps to try to meet someone else. One thing that I noticed about this film it that it seems to be much less modest than films of the time were, or at least how I thought they were.

At one point, the pretty wife of the other man bends way over right in front of Charlie, giving him a clear view of her backside, and Charlie makes no effort to be cautious as he gazes enraptured at the sight before him, despite the fact that his wife is sitting right next to him. Later, he scolds his cane for 'accidentally' lifting up the girl's skirt as she is standing next to him. I'll just go ahead and admit that until now, I thought such things would have been unacceptable in the movies. Looks like it's about time for me to go back and re-read the parameters of the infamous Code.

At any rate, the film also features a pretty clear picture of what might be considered Chaplin's conflicting views of women. Given what we know about his personal life, he had a particularly strong desire for women, but he seemed to reel back and forth from extremes of good and bad, with very quick love and happy marriages soon turning into divorce and bitter legal disputes.

In the movie, it could be argued that he was just inexperienced in the ways of romance. Charlie doesn't seem to know how to act around women, at one point tipping his hat and smiling, and at the next, using her as an armrest. Whatever the case, it seems that in the years that followed, his behavior in real life may have been a little too similar to his behavior in the movie. As a film in comparison to the other short films that he was making at the time, what I really like about A Fair Exchange is that it has a fully developed plot that is relatively easy to follow. A lot of the Keystone comedies tried to tell more of a story than they could sustain, and ultimately became very hard to follow. The plot here is entertaining and easy to follow, and while the comedy and slapstick is not much different from the other short films, it is more memorable here because it comes with an entertaining story.


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