7.7/10
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Easy Street (1917)

Unrated | | Short, Comedy | 22 January 1917 (USA)
A reformed tramp becomes a police constable who must fight a huge thug who dominates an inner city street.

Director:

(uncredited)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
The Derelict (as Charlie Chaplin)
...
The Mission Worker
Eric Campbell ...
The Bully
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Storyline

When Charlie the Tramp wanders into a mission he is smitten by Edna and puts back the collection box which he has taken. Reformed, he becomes a policeman and is assigned to rough-and-tumble Easy Street. Unable to trick or beat Eric the Tough, he puts Eric's head in a gas pipe and anesthetizes him. A hero, he now helps many poor people living on Easy Street. Eric escapes jail, Edna is kidnapped, but Charlie (recharged after sitting on a doper's needle) conquers all. Easy Street is transformed as is Eric. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

22 January 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Calle Easy  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored) | (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The lamppost used in the famous scene between Charles Chaplin and Eric Campbell fell on Chaplin during filming, requiring his hospitalization. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Chief of Police: [title card] Your beat is Easy Street.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Unknown Chaplin: The Happiest Years (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

Great introduction to Chaplin and silent films
30 November 2003 | by See all my reviews

Easy Street starts with Charlie with as a poor, destitute tramp. After attending a storefront revival service, and meeting the always delightful Edna Purviance, he decides to turn his life around. He quickly gets a job as a policeman and he finds himself assigned to Easy Street, the worst neighborhood in the city ruled by tough Eric Campbell. Using his own unorthodox tactics, Charlie eventually subdues Eric and neighborhood and they all live happily ever after.

Easy Street was one of the twelve films Chaplin made for Mutual. Mutual gave Chaplin unprecedented freedom and responded by giving them, overall, twelve of the best comedy shorts ever made. Easy Street is easily the best of them. It is a very funny short. This is the film I show when I want to introduce someone to Chaplin or silent films in general. The gags are inventive, and they are extremely well-played by his regular company of Mutual performers. Chaplin himself is at his best in this film, but where would he be without Eric Campbell, the best heavy he ever played against. (Sadly, Campbell would die in a car accident after the completion of the Mutual comedies. His loss would be felt in the First National comedies, which rarely reached the heights of the best Mutual work.)

But there is more to Easy Street than laughs. It is unusually mature for a silent comedy of its period. Chaplin usually presented his tramp character as a happy-go-lucky figure - a vagabond by choice, not circumstance. This film starts with the tramp as a down-and-out character, much in need of the new beginning he gets at the mission. In perhaps his first attempt at social commentary, Chaplin provides an unblinking view of ills of the society of the time. The most graphic example is the drug addict shooting up with a needle. People often have a misconception of silent comedies being simply quaint. That isn't quaint.

This is a must see.


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