It is windy at a bathing resort. After fighting with one of the two husbands, Charlie approaches Edna while the two husbands themselves fight over ice cream. Driven away by her husband, Charlie turns to the other's wife.

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Storyline

It is windy at a bathing resort. After fighting with one of the two husbands, Charlie approaches Edna while the two husbands themselves fight over ice cream. Driven away by her husband, Charlie turns to the other's wife.

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Short | Comedy

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TV-G | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

29 April 1915 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie by the Sea  »

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

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"Wifey's away"
10 October 2009 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

Just as Chaplin was starting to broaden his films with more structure and storyline in works such as A Jitney Elopement and The Tramp, he appears to have a taken a small step backwards. By the Sea is perhaps the last of his films to hark back to the simple frolics of his days at Keystone.

While it is fairly simplistic in its arrangement of gags, By the Sea does at least show Chaplin's well-developed use of space. Rather than simply stepping into the frame, the little tramp approaches the camera as he strolls along the street, giving his character presence in what was by now his trademark entrance. When he and the straw hat man begin tussling, they start framed quite close to the camera, but Chaplin opens out the space as things become more exaggerated, giving the two men all that room on the beach to run around in without breaking the shot. Then, when the other man begins to throttle Charlie, he brings him forward – a much smoother manoeuvre than actually cutting to a closer shot. There are still one or two problems – for example when the tramp flirts with Edna, Miss Purviance is shown in profile, and the match up of shots is a bit awkward. By the time he was at Mutual studios Chaplin would have learnt to set the angles a bit better to make this kind of shot more natural.

Charlie's sparring partner here is Billy Armstrong, who was something of a replacement for the scene-stealing Ben Turpin, Chaplin's co-star in his first three Essanay pictures. Armstrong is very good, fulfilling his roll as a Chaplin-counterfoil by, basically, falling over funnily. But Chaplin makes the same mistake as he did with Turpin, giving him too large a part so that the pair of them become almost a double-act. More than anything else, it is this tendency towards ensemble comedy that makes By the Sea look like a relic of the Keystone era. This was territory Chaplin did not revisit, and from now on he would concentrate on building up and defining his little tramp character.

And so, we come to the all-important statistic – Number of kicks up the arse: 3 (2 for, 1 against)


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