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His New Job (1915)

 -  Short | Comedy  -  1 February 1915 (USA)
6.2
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Charlie is trying to get a job in a movie. After causing difficulty on the set he is told to help the carpenter. When one of the actors doesn't show, Charlie is given a chance to act but ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Storyline

Charlie is trying to get a job in a movie. After causing difficulty on the set he is told to help the carpenter. When one of the actors doesn't show, Charlie is given a chance to act but instead enters a dice game. When he does finally act he ruins the scene, wrecks the set and tears the skirt from the star. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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Plot Keywords:

hollywood | See All (1) »

Taglines:

ARE YOU THERE CHARLIE? See more »

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

1 February 1915 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie's New Job  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is one of Gloria Swanson's earliest screen appearances. She's the stenographer on the left that Chaplin speaks to when the film begins. She auditioned for the female lead, but Chaplin didn't see that the role suited her. She would later admit that she hated slapstick comedy and had been deliberately uncooperative. See more »

Goofs

A taped "X" on Ben Turpin's neck, used by Charlie to strike a match against, disappears when the gag is over. See more »

Connections

Edited into The Essanay-Chaplin Revue of 1916 (1916) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Beginning the new production"
20 September 2009 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

One of Charlie Chaplin's many comedic talents was a sly satirical steak. In naming his first short for Essanay studios "His New Job", Chaplin was having a subtle dig at his previous contract holders, Keystone. Many of Chaplin's Keystone pictures had been assigned titles like "His Recreation", "His Musical Career", "His Prehistoric Past" and so forth. "His New Job" is thus a big raspberry at Keystone and its naming system, and was of course the last "His…" title of Chaplin's career.

As he would in many of his Essanay shorts, Charlie emerges from the back of the set, before plodding his way into the foreground. Whereas most of the Keystone pictures were silly through and through – ridiculous situations, ridiculous characters – Chaplin's tack at Essanay is to begin with a normal setting, populated largely with serious characters (although there are one or two silly ones for him to play off) and then to have the tramp emerging from the background to create chaos within that environment. Most of the gags come from messing with the conventions of the setting, using and abusing its props, and pricking the pomposity of those serious characters. It all equals bigger laughs than, say, everybody accidentally walking off with each others wives then hitting each other over the head with mallets.

You can see how Chaplin's style as a director has developed since his earliest Keystone pictures as well. Chaplin's method is entirely based around one principle – that he is centre of attention. Even when he is not foreground and centre-screen, he still frames himself neatly to draw attention, like for example in the shot when the leading lady has come to sign her contract. Charlie has become a marginalized figure in the background, but he can still be fully seen and our eye is drawn to him. Another hallmark of Chaplin's style is these very long takes (as oppose to the frequent editing back and forth in Keystone pictures not directed by Chaplin), which allow him to draw out his comedy business and build up a series of gags. His New Job still features a lot of the Keystone-ish two-shot gags where someone is thrown or pushed off the screen, cutting to another shot of them falling over a few feet away.

Although he no longer had the collaboration of Mack Swain, Fatty Arbuckle or Mabel Normand, Chaplin was starting to put together his own team of regular supporting players. Most notable here is of course Ben Turpin, playing Charlie's rival. Turpin moves and pratfalls like a comedy star, and Chaplin would soon ditch him for being too good. Also worth noting are Charlotte Mineau, who went on to star in about a dozen Chaplin shorts, usually as a slightly older woman in whom Charlie has no interest, and Leo White, one of the funniest and littlest-known of Chaplin's character actors.

And there is another very important element here, one that would eventually be integral to Chaplin's later work – the mixing of comedy with poignancy. Towards the end of His New Job, the tramp plays a scene in which he begs the leading lady not to leave him. It is shot and acted exactly as if it were the finale of a romantic drama… right up until the point where Charlie blows his nose and wipes his eyes on the hem of her skirt. While it's only a little moment and has very little to do with the overall picture, it indicates a very important principle in Chaplin's style – that poignancy can enhance comedy and vice versa.

And finally, the all-important statistic –

Number of kicks up the arse: 4 (3 for, 1 against)


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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