After amusements working in a restaurant, Charlie uses his lunch break to go roller skating. Mr. Stout makes advances toward the unwilling Edna (whose father and Mrs. Stout had earlier carried on in the restaurant). After a roller skate ballet, Charlie (now as Sir Cecil Seltzer) is invited to a party at Edna's. All the "couples", including a new partner for Mr. Stout. show up. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
When Charlie goes to lunch, he changes out of his waiter's coat and tie into his "Little Tramp" coat and vest. When he buttons his vest, the buttons and button holes are out of alignment. But when he walks through the restaurant and onto the sidewalk, the buttons and button holes are properly aligned. See more »
I have and always will hold this short film in high regard. I don't recall when I first saw "The Rink", but I remember being taken aback by the graceful eloquence of Chaplin's skating. It has figured prominently in my memory since--especially in playing back the first moment when Chaplin rolls onto the rink. This must be what the French critics were referring to when they compared him to ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinksy. Chaplin skated again in "Modern Times" (1936), but for some reason, perhaps because there's so much more going on in that feature-length film, it hasn't had the same affect on me.
"The Rink" also reminds me of the earliest film I've seen of Chaplin's comedic forerunner and prominent influence Max Linder. In that very short film, of which no two sources seem to agree on the date or the exact title, Max skated on the ice, or, rather, attempted to skate; the humor supposedly being in the many pratfalls. There are plenty of pratfalls in Chaplin's film, but they're in addition to his elegant movements on the rink floor.
In "The Rink", the agile skating makes for a nice contrast to the knockabout slapstick that the film is otherwise. Chaplin, by now, had managed to balance these two contrasting styles, and it makes for a very entertaining short. The direction almost seems intended to point out the differences in the styles; there are, as common then, many jump cuts when Chaplin's causing mayhem at the restaurant, but when he's skating, there are flowing, seamless camera movements. The restaurant gags, for the most part, aren't bad, either. Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell and other regulars aid in the fun, including Henry Bergman in the oft done but still funny drag role.
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