An out-of-work swindler takes a job as a reporter. After witnessing a car go over cliff, he grabs a rival reporter's camera and races to the newspaper office to enter the photo as his own. ... See full summary »
Charlie and his partner are to deliver a piano to 666 Prospect St. and repossess one from 999 Prospect St. They confuse the addresses. The difficulties of delivering the piano by mule cart,... See full summary »
Charlie and another waiter must become bakers when the regular bakers go out on strike. The strikers put dynamite in a piece of bread which is delivered to the cake counter. It winds up in the oven and explodes.
A tramp steals a girl's handbag, but when he tries to pick Charlie's pocket loses his cigarettes and matches. He rescues a hot dog man from a thug, but takes a few with his walking stick. ... See full summary »
In a hotel lobby an inebriated Charlie runs into an elegant lady, gets tied hup in her dog's leash, and falls down. He later runs into her in the hotel corridor, locked out of her room. ... See full summary »
Mabel and her beau go to an auto race and are joined by Charlie and his friend. As Charlie's friend is attempting to enter the raceway through a hole, the friend gets stuck and a policeman ... See full summary »
Charlie and another man compete in trying to help a young lady cross a muddy street. The rival finds a wooden plank which Charlie takes from him. They fight over an umbrella belonging to ... See full summary »
Charlie is hanging around in the park, finding problems with a jealous suitor, a man who thinks that Charlie has robbed him a watch, a policeman and even a little boy, all because our friend can't stop snooping.
An out-of-work swindler takes a job as a reporter. After witnessing a car go over cliff, he grabs a rival reporter's camera and races to the newspaper office to enter the photo as his own. His rival is delayed when he gets caught in a woman's bedroom by her jealous husband. The swindler follows the distribution of the paper containing his 'scoop' around town where he is once again chased by the rival reporter. Both end up on the cow-catcher of a streetcar. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I have read a lot of negative reviews of Chaplin's first screen appearance, written by people who can't seem to get past the fact that the Tramp has not been discovered yet and Chaplin plays a character wildly different from the one that we know and love and with whom he is most associated with. It is a curious look at his early career, since Chaplin was acting on stage barely six months before this film was shot, and although his character, dubiously named Edgar English, is something of a swindling jerk, it is hard to imagine any actor putting on a charming performance with such a hideous mustache!
Many of Charlie's mannerisms are already very recognizable, and it is interesting to consider how similar his stage acting was to his film acting, since his style is already so clear. Consider his behavior upon noticing the Help Wanted sign, as well as the extensive fight scenes, which are even more breathless here than usual, since the pace of the film is so much faster than many of his short comedies of the time, given the primitive filming equipment.
Making A Living is a very unique film in Chaplin's filmography, not only because it is his first screen appearance, but also because it represents a real testing period in which he was truly unsure of himself as a screen actor. One cannot deny that it is interesting to consider how Chaplin looked back on this film in forming his persona, and what he thought worked here and what he should change. Also of note is the film's final shot, which features a stunt gag, something that would be very common in his later short comedies of this period.
Some have said that this is a film only for Chaplin fans and that casual fans of silent film should skip it, but I disagree. Chaplin is considered by many to be the greatest screen comedian of all time, but if you keep in mind that this is his first screen appearance and therefore not one of the greatest silent comedies of all time, I should think that any viewer with even a mild interest in silent film should find it interesting and entertaining.
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