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The Floorwalker (1916)

TV-G | | Short, Comedy | 15 May 1916 (USA)
The Tramp is tricked into impersonating an embezzling floorwalker in a department store.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Eric Campbell ...
Store Manager
...
Secretary
...
Floorwalker
Albert Austin ...
Shop Assistant
Charlotte Mineau ...
Store Detective
Leo White ...
Elegant Customer
James T. Kelley ...
Lift Boy
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Storyline

After causing havoc on the sales floor Charlie goes to the office floor. There he runs into the store inspector (who looks exactly like him) who has just robbed the safe and knocked out the manager. Charlie thinks he is in front of a mirror till he notices he holds a stock and his "image" the bag of loot. 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:

15 May 1916 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2013) (restored)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was noted for the first "running staircase" (escalator) used in films. See more »

Connections

Featured in Den gamle biograf: Episode #1.7 (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The first escalator ever used in a film?
21 April 2008 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

So evidently the floorwalker is the guy that walks around the store making sure no one is shoplifting, which provides a wonderful situation for a little mixed identity. Chaplin plays an obnoxious browser, testing all of the products in the store and generally making a big mess without buying anything (this may be one of the few times in his career when he displayed a little understanding of the plight of the store owners dealing with pesky shoppers who don't buy anything). Soon, however, he is back to sticking up for the people. The floorwalker begins harassing Charlie while a real thief robs the place blind right behind him.

There are two new and interesting things in this film. One is the escalator, which I have a feeling is the first escalator ever to appear in a motion picture (if you know of an earlier one, I'd be curious to hear about it), and the other is a Chaplin look-a-like. He's much bigger than the diminutive Chaplin, of course, but it's the first time I've seen his double appear with him in one of his movies.

The escalator is well used here, as well. The humor surrounding it goes a long way, and Chaplin speed walking down it is one of the more memorable moments of his early career. Soon, the double, in his efforts to make off with a suitcase full of cash, pays Charlie to trade clothes with him (I am always suspicious of someone who wants me to wear their clothes out of a store), which Charlie foolishly accepts.

The set up for the physical comedy is unusually clever in this film. The real bad guy gets caught and Charlie is congratulated for helping to capture him, then later an oafish guard wakes up (he had fallen victim to that silent film curiosity where someone gets knocked out and then later wakes up as though well-rested from a deep sleep), and comes after Charlie, unaware of his new hero status. He gives Charlie a hilarious thrashing.

My favorite moment in the film is Charlie's brief farewell dance before he attempts to dive into that handbag. It reminds me of the prestidigitonious (something like that) scene in Sword in the Stone, one of my all time favorite animated films.

There is a great scene near the end where Charlie does a hilarious little dance. It's hard to pinpoint it, but there is something definitely charming about the way he dances. I feel like I've seen a thousand other people do the same thing, and yet it still looks totally unique when he does it. The ending of this film is a little abrupt, but this is probably some of his best physical comedy yet.


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