Charles Chaplin, a convict, is given $5.00 and released from prison after having served his term. He meets a man of the church who makes him weep for his sins and while he is weeping takes ... See full summary »

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Cast

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The Girl
Wesley Ruggles ...
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Storyline

Charles Chaplin, a convict, is given $5.00 and released from prison after having served his term. He meets a man of the church who makes him weep for his sins and while he is weeping takes the $5.00 away from him. Chaplin goes to a fruit stand and samples the fruit. When he goes to pay for it he finds his $5.00 is missing. This results in a battle with the fruit dealer, but Chaplin finally escapes. He is held up by a footpad and finds it is his former cellmate. He is inveigled into joining him in robbing a house. They put a police officer out of commission with a mallet and stack up the silverware. They then start upstairs to search the upper rooms, but are met by a young woman who implores them to leave because her mother is ill and fears the shock will kill her. Chaplin's heart is touched but the footpad insists on ransacking the house. This results in a battle between the footpad and Chaplin. While they are fighting, a squad of police arrives. The footpad makes his escape, but the ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Genres:

Comedy | Short

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Release Date:

27 May 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie in the Police  »

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| | (Ontario) | (1952 dubbed)

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The film was restored in 2014 through the Chaplin Essanay Project. See more »

Connections

Featured in Triple Trouble (1918) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Once again in the cruel, cruel world"
6 December 2009 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

With this picture Charlie Chaplin ended his fruitful tenure at Essanay. While he had produced a handful of better shorts in that period, Police does show off everything he had developed and perfected during his time at the studio. So let's recap with Charlie.

The first thing that is very evident is Chaplin's confidence in his own material. In contrast to the high-speed slapstick that made up virtually all silent comedy up to this point, Police contains lots of slow and subtle visual gags that rely upon the audience's ability to relate to the situations and pay attention to detail. So we get moments like Charlie drying his eyes on the preacher's beard, or getting into the habit of patting his pockets for change every time someone offers to help him go straight. The sedate pace of the bulk of the picture means that when we do get a bit of fast-paced action it has more impact.

However, the clearest and perhaps the most important development Chaplin made at Essanay was the ability to create stories. His first few Essanay pictures don't really have plots, and are just half an hour of antics based around a single location. With Police there is a well-defined structure, and this is probably the strongest and most carefully balanced story he has made so far. There is a consistent theme of Charlie trying to give up crime, and this is set up in the first scene and resolved in the last one. The love angle with Edna Purviance is also neatly established, with them running into each other part way through the burglary, and their relationship built-up and woven into the redemption idea. Perhaps this all sounds a bit high-minded for a comedy, but it is important because it helps the audience connect to the character and gives the jokes a bigger pay-off.

Ever the pragmatist, Chaplin would soon be lured to Mutual studios with the promise of a higher salary. At Mutual he would make what are generally agreed to be his finest short features. Still, his Essanay output, while very much the product of a learning phase, is full of fun and funniness, and the first time the world got to see the little tramp really flourish.

But that's not all; there's still the all-important statistic –

Number of kicks up the arse: 6 (2 for, 1 against)


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