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The Pawnshop (1916)

TV-G  |   |  Comedy, Short  |  2 October 1916 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,988 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 10 critic

Charlie competes with his fellow shop assistant. He is fired by the pawnbroker and rehired. He nearly destroys everything in the shop and and himself. He helps capture a burglar. He destroys a client's clock while examining it in detail.

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(uncredited)
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Title: The Pawnshop (1916)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
The New Employee
Henry Bergman ...
The Pawnbroker
...
His Daughter
Eric Campbell ...
A Thief
Albert Austin ...
Customer
Charlotte Mineau ...
Customer
James T. Kelley ...
An Old Actor
Edit

Storyline

Charlie competes with his fellow shop assistant. He is fired by the pawnbroker and rehired. He nearly destroys everything in the shop and and himself. He helps capture a burglar. He destroys a client's clock while examining it in detail.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Short

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 October 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

At the Sign of the Dollar  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Brilliant
18 December 2004 | by (NYC) – See all my reviews

One of the funniest movies every made, and definitely one of Chaplin's finest. It refreshingly lacks the pathos that Chaplin (sometimes unwisely) inserted in his later movies.

This short is memorable because of its unrelenting comedy "business," such as the famous scene in which a customer brings in an alarm clock and Chaplin examines it like a doctor, eventually taking a pair of pliers and yanking out its innards. This and other routines were later stolen by other comedians. For example, the scene in which an old actor comes in to sell a ring. This bit was stolen, in every single detail--down to Chaplin spitting crackers while crying--by Abbott & Costello.

Chaplin's constant tussling with another shop assistant, played by John Rand, is hilarious. Oddly, Rand did not receive screen credit for his role, even though he appears in almost every scene and is brilliant.

The Pawn Shop also provided good roles for other Chaplin regulars, including Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Albert Austin (as the customer with the clock), and Henry Bergmann as the pawn shop proprietor.

One interesting sidelight to this film is that the Bergmann character wears a skullcap and is identifiably Jewish--which is accurate enough, given that most urban pawnshops were owned by Jewish people at the time. This means that two of the main characters, he and Purviance, were Jewish. That was unusual at the time, particularly because the characters are not stereotyped.


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