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Tango Tangle (1914)

 -  Short | Comedy  -  9 March 1914 (USA)
5.4
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 603 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 5 critic

Out of costume, Charlie is a clean-shaven dandy who, somewhat drunk, visits a dance hall. There the wardrobe girl has three rival admirers: the band leader, one of the musicians, and now Charlie.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Tipsy Dancer
Ford Sterling ...
Band Leader
...
Clarinettist
Chester Conklin ...
Guest in Police Costume
Minta Durfee ...
Guest
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Storyline

Out of costume, Charlie is a clean-shaven dandy who, somewhat drunk, visits a dance hall. There the wardrobe girl has three rival admirers: the band leader, one of the musicians, and now Charlie.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

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Details

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Release Date:

9 March 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie's Recreation  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some sources credit the role of the Hat Check Girl to Minda Durfee; this role is actually played by Sadie Lampe; Durfee plays one of the guests at the dance hall. See more »

Goofs

The tie and collar Ford Sterling removes while fighting with Charlie re-appears in the next shot. See more »

Connections

Featured in Birth of Hollywood: Episode #1.2 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The experiments continue…
16 April 2007 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

In Chaplin's first handful of short comedies, there is a very clear pattern of experimentation going on as he discovers where his real talent lies and while the personality of the beloved Tramp evolves and makes itself known. In Tango Tangles, or Charlie's Recreation, we see a bit of a digression as not only does Chaplin's character revert back into the 'obnoxious drunk' half of his on screen persona, but is also overshadowed by the clearly talented and, in this film at least, almost equally large screen presence of Ford Serling.

Serling has been credited by some users as deserving at least some credit for inspiring some aspects of Chaplin's character, which I can accept, because the motions and overblown mannerisms are similar to some of Chaplin's later work, although I think it's important to point out that if Chaplin did learn from Serling, he most certainly saw his technique and improved it, maybe even perfected it.

At the beginning of the film, it is clear that Serling has an intense presence, but as the film goes on, the infancy of screen acting also becomes apparent. It seems here that actors did not know where to stop when flinging themselves about in the outrageously overblown antics that must have been common in slapstick comedy for the stage. They slap each other in the face and then stumble about in a bizarre state of semi-consciousness, wobbling on their feet while their arms swing limply, eyes bulging and head bouncing from side to side like a superball in a box, before eventually falling over backwards and flinging their legs up over their head far enough so that their toes touch the ground behind them.

Not that this is all bad comedy, just a sign of how different the things were that made people laugh in 1914 compared to today, as well as a curious look at the development of slapstick comedy for the screen.

As far Chaplin's performance, it is also clear that the Tramp was still in the future, as he appears in this film without a mustache and therefore looking entirely like someone else. As I mentioned, he once again plays a belligerent drunk, stumbling around and callously punching and pushing people and throwing things at them as he staggers about the set, also in a bizarre state of semi-consciousness. Fatty Arbuckle also puts the majority of his talents on hold to star in this short, as he, Chaplin, and Serling all compete viciously for the affections of the hat girl, with what probably used to be hilarious results. By now, the film is one of the lesser of Chaplin's very early films, but remains an interesting milestone on his way to making his own far superior films.


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