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The Fireman (1916)

TV-G  |   |  Short, Comedy  |  12 June 1916 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 1,358 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 8 critic

Charlie is a fireman who always does everything wrong. A man talks the Fire Chief into ignoring his burning home (he wants the insurance money) unaware that his daughter (the love of the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
The Fireman (as Charlie Chaplin)
Eric Campbell ...
His Chief
...
The Chief's Sweetheart
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Storyline

Charlie is a fireman who always does everything wrong. A man talks the Fire Chief into ignoring his burning home (he wants the insurance money) unaware that his daughter (the love of the Chief) is upstairs in the house. When the house next door catches fire its owner rouses Charlie who rouses the force. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

12 June 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Gallant Fireman  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film shows some early day street scenes in the surrounding Los Angeles area. See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
"An honest fire"
13 January 2010 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

One of the many advantages Charlie Chaplin had in the independence, confidence and familiarity of this point in his career was that he had a large crew of supporting players, each with their own slightly different character, whom the little tramp could play off of. Since the Fireman does not show Charlie at his funniest, let's take this opportunity to tip our hats to the gentlemen who were the butts of so many of his jokes.

Chaplin's supporting actors came in many shapes and sizes, but they all had one function in common – to be a puffed-up pompous twerp, who it was amusing to see brought down a peg. You see, Charlie's appeal lay in his own lack of pomposity, and his knack of deflating it in others. This even went to the point of Chaplin not always being the centre of attention, but still being the originator of the biggest laughs. And yet it was that army of pratfallers who keep the supply of potential gags flowing and fresh.

So who have we here? Most noticeable is of course Eric Campbell, in his second role for Chaplin. Campbell was a real find, having size coupled with sternness, meaning he was suitable play Chaplin's boss as well as antagonist. As the ultimate burly bully and a grim figure of authority, he provides us with the most satisfaction when Charlie gets the better of him. Then we get the jumped-up, self-important boss's pet as played by Albert Austin. After seeing Campbell repeatedly kick Charlie up the arse, Austin gets in one kick of his own, only to have Charlie ceremoniously kick him back. Finally there is Leo White, and I'm sad to say this really was finally for him because it was the last appearance of his recurring posh twit persona, and his penultimate appearance in any Chaplin picture. He is at his best here though, hopping frantically around trying to get the fire brigade round to his burning house. Charlie's languid, unconcerned response is hilarious, but only because White's exaggerated capering gives him such an excellent counterpoint.

This is all in all a fairly good Chaplin short, typical of the smoothness he displayed at the Mutual studios. It's also notable for a couple of camera trick gags, such as Charlie appearing to put the horses into reverse, or a jump cut which makes it look like the firemen got dressed in a split second. These are pretty funny, but Chaplin clearly did not consider himself a Melies and would not pursue the approach.

And where would we be without our all-important statistic? – Number of kicks up the arse: 15 (1 for, 13 against, 1 other)


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