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His New Profession (1914)

 -  Short | Comedy  -  31 August 1914 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 551 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 3 critic

Charlie meets a couple and agrees to care for the man's crippled uncle. After the couple breaks up the man's new girl drops some eggs which Charlie slips on while trying to control the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Charlie
...
Nephew (as Charles Parrot)
Peggy Page ...
Nephew's Girlfriend
Jess Dandy ...
Invalid Uncle
Cecile Arnold ...
Girl with Eggs
...
Bartender Smoking Cigar
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Storyline

Charlie meets a couple and agrees to care for the man's crippled uncle. After the couple breaks up the man's new girl drops some eggs which Charlie slips on while trying to control the wheelchair. Charlie sets up the uncle near another wheelchair on a jetty, from which he lifts a beggar's cup and "invalid" sign. These he places with the uncle, and money begins to roll in. Charlie takes the money and buys himself a drink. Returning, he gets to know the abandoned young woman. After pushing the uncle and his chair into the drink and battling the beggar and two policemen (one of whom arrests the uncle), Charlie beats up his rival and gets the girl. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Release Date:

31 August 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Helping Himself  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Featured in Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An oddly enjoyable comedy full of violence & naughty behavior
11 August 2002 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

If you've seen any of the comedies Charlie Chaplin made at Keystone during his first year in the movies you know that they're usually very fast-paced, sometimes chaotic (even when the print is in decent shape), and generally full of slapstick violence. Furthermore, Charlie himself is not the lovable Little Tramp of later days, but a more ruthless figure, often drunk and combative. Where the ladies are concerned he's playful but not exactly warm-hearted. Sometimes Charlie is an out-and-out villain, as in Mabel at the Wheel and Tillie's Punctured Romance, and in one Keystone, The Property Man, he's a bully who torments his elderly assistant.

In His New Profession, a one-reel comedy, Charlie is a scamp who hangs around at a seaside park reading The Police Gazette, an illustrated weekly full of sin and scandal that was the National Enquirer of its day. A young gent who is stuck pushing his wheelchair-bound uncle around the pier persuades Charlie to take on the job for a while, so he can go off with his girlfriend. Through devious means Charlie uses the old man to raise a little cash to buy himself beer, but when the nephew returns the situation quickly deteriorates into a brawl involving the police. In this film Charlie is more selfish and amoral than villainous; when a passing lady drops her handbag he almost pockets it, but quickly returns it when challenged. His strategy to earn himself beer money is rather amusing. Compared to other, more crazed Keystone shorts the knockabout violence in this one builds gradually, the way Laurel & Hardy would handle escalating hostilities in their best comedies later on. Still, the tone here is pretty raw. Charlie sits on eggs and wipes off the residue on the grass, a beggar pretends to be crippled, and the uncle's bandaged foot gets clobbered repeatedly -- of course. Refined it ain't, but nonetheless it's more enjoyable than some of the other Keystones. It's well paced, and despite the low comedy stuff the atmosphere is light-hearted. It's just a day at the seashore with the old gang.

A couple of notes on the cast: the dapper young man first seen pushing his uncle's wheelchair (and who comes to regret entrusting Charlie with this job) is played by a very young Charley Chase, who went on to a starring career of his own in the '20s and '30s. And during the sequence in the saloon you'll have to look fast to catch a glimpse of Roscoe Arbuckle as the bartender. This cameo role is so brief, and is presented so casually, one suspects an inside joke.


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