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|Index||16 reviews in total|
11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Good for what ails you: one of Charlie's best!, 2 October 2005
Author: wmorrow59 from Westchester County, NY
Measured in terms of sheer belly-laughs The Cure may well be the
funniest movie Charlie Chaplin ever made. Not one moment is given over
to sentimentality about unrequited love, childhood trauma, poverty or
anything of the sort; this time around, Chaplin is single-minded in his
drive to make us laugh, and he achieves his goal with ruthless and
The story's setting may require a bit of explanation for younger viewers. At the time this film was made there were a number of well-known health resorts in the U.S. and Europe built around mineral springs. It was fashionable for middle- and upper-class people to spend a week or two at these spas to address whatever health problems they might be struggling with, for it was believed that mineral water cured or at least alleviated a variety of ailments. The resorts were visited by well-to-do patients afflicted with everything from rheumatism, gout, or polio to chronic alcoholism, and someone in the latter category who went to a spa to get clean and sober was said to be "taking the cure."
When Charlie arrives at the spa that is our setting, pushed in a wheeled deck-chair by a uniformed attendant and obviously still tipsy, we know right away that despite the familiar mustache he's not the Little Tramp we usually encounter. Here, though slightly disheveled, Charlie sports a dapper ensemble of light jacket, straw boater, and spotted tie, indicating that he's a respectable bourgeois citizen who has come to this place-- probably at the insistence of family or friends --to dry out. It's soon apparent that he has no intention of changing his ways, however, for his wardrobe trunk is full of booze and he wastes no time in refreshing himself. When an attendant tries to ply him with mineral water he reacts with disgust, and after taking a sip rushes back to his room to wash the taste out of his mouth with liquor. Just to demonstrate that he's not entirely a wastrel, however, Charlie gallantly rescues a young lady (Edna Puviance) from the unwelcome attentions of an obnoxious man (Eric Campbell), and even sobers up long enough to go for a massage and a very brief dip in the spa's pool. Eventually, Charlie's stash of liquor is discovered by the resort's manager and inadvertently dumped into the spring. Soon, everyone in the place except for Charlie and Edna is drunk and disorderly, and Charlie must once again come to Edna's aid.
The great sequences in this comedy begin almost immediately when Charlie confronts a revolving door and has his first run-in with Eric Campbell, whose unpleasant personality determines that his gouty foot will be fair game for brutality thereafter. Campbell, who wears an especially nasty-looking beard, has a great moment when he appears behind Edna in the lobby, leering at her through a curtain like a crazed goblin. Things get a little risqué when Charlie misinterprets Eric's flirty gestures as intended for himself, but the real comic highpoint comes when Charlie heads for the pool and must fend off a beefy masseur (Henry Bergman). This scene is absolutely hilarious no matter how many times you see it, and stands with the best work of Chaplin's career.
Perhaps the synopsis of The Cure will sound distasteful to anyone who hasn't seen the film; and granted, attitudes towards substance abuse have changed over time. I maintain that Chaplin was well aware of the seriousness of his subject matter-- his own father died young as a result of alcoholism --and that he did not take it lightly. The true subject of this film was the contemporary fashion for health resorts, and much of the humor derives from poking fun at the proponents of the spring's curative powers. We see just enough of the spa's administrative staff to get a sense of their self-righteousness, a well-meaning but pompous attitude suggesting that they know all the answers and hold the key to health and happiness. Charlie with his trunk-full of booze is a dangerously subversive element in this atmosphere, and it's his (almost accidental) overthrow of authority that's funny and exhilarating.
The Cure is beautifully staged, expertly performed, and hilarious. Where health and happiness are concerned I'd say that viewing it is as restorative as the spring waters touted by the resort's staff in the film: it's good and good for you.
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Prepare to Giggle!, 26 December 2001
Author: (email@example.com) from West Hollywood, California
Very simply the most hysterical of all his Mutuals! Charlie is not only inebriated throughout his stay in rehab but makes sure everyone in the place gets crocked too! A masterpiece! A riot! You'll laugh until you wet your pants!
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Consistently funny short film, 16 January 2004
Charlie, an alcoholic, goes to a health spa for the water cure. He does so, however, only half-heartedly since his luggage is filled almost entirely with alcohol. Once at the spa, he flirts with the always-delightful Edna Purviance and battles with always-menacing Eric Campbell, who finds himself at slight disadvantage in this film since his character suffers from gout. This film, Chaplin's tenth under his twelve-film Mutual contract, doesn't quite scale the heights of his previous one, "Easy Street," but remains one of his most consistently funny shorts. A revolving door is used repeatedly for great comic effect, but the highlight of the film is the massage sequence where Charlie desperately tries to avoid the rough treatment masseur Henry Bergman deals out. Charlie interestingly abandons his normal tramp persona for this film. Although he felt rich drinkers were ripe targets for comedy, he felt that alcoholism in the working class was a serious problem which wasn't suitable for comedy. (Don't ask me for attribution, but I know he said that somewhere.)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Charlie at his short best, 26 October 2004
Author: didi-5 from United Kingdom
Much of the delights in this short film involve a tipsy Charlie (whose
luggage consists entirely of bottles, to the good fortune of the
weirdly bearded porter) and a grouchy, gouty, Eric Campbell - a perfect
foil for Chaplin, he'd be much missed after his death in a road
accident later in 1917.
Edna Purviance, Charlie's usual sweetie in these short films, is a welcome presence, but it is Chaplin himself who shines throughout 'The Cure', whether struggling from the over zealous attention of a Turkish bath attendant, walking his funny walk up steps, or getting stuck along with Campbell in a set of revolving doors.
It doesn't get much better than this.
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not just another drunken role , 26 April 2008
Author: Michael DeZubiria (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Luoyang, China
Before Chaplin got into films, he was well known on the English stage
for his roles playing a drunk, yet these roles are undeniably the
weakest performances of his early film career. The movie opens with him
stumbling all over himself as an exasperated bellhop tries in vain to
lead him into a hotel. There is the obligatory mayhem involved in
getting through a revolving door, which goes on for as long as it can.
Chaplin seems to have an almost prophetic knack for milking a gag until
there's nothing left! Once inside, what seemed like just another drunk
movie turns delightfully into something else.
Charlie reprimands a bellhop about to light a cigarette, and wags his finger at him, reminding him that smoking is bad for you health, and then casually opens a suitcase packed to the brim with every kind of alcohol imaginable. Needless to say, soon the bellhop doesn't seem to smoke much anymore, but spends most of his remaining screen time falling over drunk off of booze that he apparently "borrowed" from Charlie's suitcase. And by the way, seeing all of those bottles of 1917 alcohol reminds me of a long standing wish that I could have tasted Coca-Cola back in the old days, when it lived up to its name
Soon Charlie checks into one of those establishments where you go to relax in the pool, spa, sauna, or get a massage, etc. I'm not sure what they're called in English, but I know that in Chinese it translates to "bath house." It's interesting to me to see what the place was like, because when I lived in America I never really spent much time in them, although I have been to some astonishingly nice ones in Colombia and China. It may be the third world, but I guess when a sizable portion of the population has no shower at home, public bathing spots are big business. There's an amusing scene involving a swimming pool and then a frighteningly vicious massage, which appears to be a mandatory experience in this particular bath house, and the massive masseuse chases Charlie all over the place, ultimately flat out fighting with him.
But the best part of the film is that Charlie doesn't just play a drunk, we see him the next morning, and his actual dependency on alcohol is brilliantly portrayed. There is a scene where he charms a young woman off her feet, and she offers him a drink which at first he refuses, given that he's still recovering from the night before. But he takes a sip anyway, and then downs the rest of the glass and pours himself another, eventually taking the whole jug and drinking it down in front of the young lady, who is unimpressed. It mirrors the end of the film, which quite literally illustrates the message of the movie, which is that too much alcohol will lead to your life falling "in the drink."
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Pure Chaplin magic, 1 March 2001
Author: Bill Stea from Indian Head, MD
Out of all of Chaplin's short films, this is the one I could watch over and over again. Chaplin is at his absolute best as a reluctant guest at a spa. His daring escape from a massage, and the funniest use I have ever seen of an escalator are the highlights of this gem.
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
review of "The Cure", 17 November 2008
Author: Baxter Martin from Westchester, New York
"The Cure" has Chaplin arriving tipsy to a health clinic to supposedly
dry out, but he shows up with a trunk full of booze. This film has some
memorable scenes but the premise of it is very funny. There are plenty
of run-ins with Eric Campbell's character with the foot cast. Campbell
is also Chaplin's rival for the girl as well, although, poor girl, has
to(?) choose between an ogre and a recovering alcoholic who is failing
miserably at the recovering part.
Outside of the hotel is some sort of little fountain or well that has a stone terrace around it and stone benches. Mostly women it seems sit around the 'ol water cure hole and drink. At some point in the movie, a dude that Charlie had been rough with earlier comes back. The man goes into Chaplin's hotel room and throws every last bottle of booze (that is the ones that the crazy long-bearded old bellhop didn't drink) directly into the water hole below. So much for health clinic security! Before long, the entire hotel is trashed.
There's a good sequence when Chaplin goes into the spa for a massage with a large guy who looks like he's practicing wrestling moves on people. "The Cure" seems to lack a number of good sequences but makes up for it a bit with the overall funny factor. It still doesn't appear to be his best of the Mutual period (this was the 10th film for Mutual, 45th time directing and 67th overall)
Too Simplistic a Concept for Any Real Laughs, 9 September 2012
Author: brando647 from Orlando, FL
I have the disadvantage of having grown up in the MTV generation so it's harder for me to really appreciate some of Charlie Chaplin's short films. They have to be pretty consistently funny to leave an impression on me, but THE CURE falls into the group of shorts that fall out of mind soon after watching it. It finds Charlie Chaplin's alcoholic arriving at a sanitarium/resort spa where men and women go to clear their minds and cleanse their bodies. But he's a drunk, and hence hi-jinks. There are a few fun gags; in my opinion, the best was Chaplin's total lack of understanding in how a revolving door functions. It's good for a few laughs before it's milked a shade too long. The same could be said for just about every gag in the movie (e.g. when Chaplin is unknowingly dumping his water cup into his hat). The rest of the movie is just Chaplin stumbling around from room to room, aggravating just about everyone he crosses. There are a few chuckles here and there, but nothing memorable. Both Edna Purviance and Eric Campbell make their usual appearances here, but Purviance disappears pretty fast and Campbell (as the man with the gout) does nothing but chase Chaplin and repeatedly stub his bad foot on furniture. I guess the whole concept was just a little too simplistic and there just wasn't much to be gleaned from it for laughs. Fans should give it a watch, but it's no EASY STREET.
"The waters have a strange effect", 18 March 2010
Author: Steffi_P from Ruritania
At this time, he may have been making his most effective story-based
short pictures like Easy Street and The Immigrant, but Charlie Chaplin
still had time for a good old chaotic mess around, such as was the
staple in his days at Essanay studios.
In fact The Cure is very much like his Essanay pictures, in that it takes an established environment, which Charlie's character then invades and turns topsy-turvy, much as he did in His New Job, Work, A Night in the Show and more. However it is done with the polish and professionalism of the Mutual pictures. The scene is set with a couple of brief images of prim Edwardian ladies sipping daintily at the waters of a health spa. This is the world Charlie will overturn. When Chaplin arrives we are treated to over five minutes of uninterrupted gags, all in a seamless flow. He lampoons revolving doors, pummelling masseurs, and of course Eric Campbell, before building up to a grand scale bit of mischief as the whole clientele and staff become unwittingly intoxicated. What makes it extra funny is the way Chaplin whirls around seemingly unaware of the trail of destruction he leaves behind him.
You can also see in The Cure how neat and effective Chaplin's use of space and timing is now. He first pulls up in a wheelchair quite far back in the shot. In the foreground is that badly-placed waterhole, like an accident waiting to happen. Chaplin builds up a kind of comic suspense in making us wonder how long it will be before he puts his foot in it. There's also a great little arrangement in the shot where Eric Campbell is flirting with Edna Purviance and Chaplin comes walking down the stairs. Campbell is the most animated in this shot, but the camera tilts down as Chaplin descends. Thus are eyes are drawn to Eric but we are also made conscious of Charlie's arrival on the scene.
There's little else to say this is an all-round good effort, and perhaps Chaplin's best "just for fun" picture yet.
But we mustn't forget the all-important statistic Number of kicks up the arse 1 (1 for)
Charlie's Trip to a health spa!, 9 March 2009
Author: Miyagis_Sweaty_wifebeater (email@example.com) from Sacramento, CA
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Cure (1917) was another one of Charlie Chaplin's shorts that
featured a few members of his troupe. Charlie stars as a drunk who goes
to a health spa. His day their is filled with all kind of crazy
situations. The funniest one involves a burly masseuse who manhandles
his clients. After witnessing the masseuse's style of massage, Charlie
is a little more than reluctant to participate and the burly dude
chases him all over the room very eager to give our hero a "treatment".
Edna Purviance co-stars as well.
An interesting look at Chaplin as he assumes more control over his films. A few more of these shorts would lead him to direct, produce, write and star in his first feature length film.
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