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The Immigrant (1917)

 -  Short | Comedy | Drama  -  17 June 1917 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,031 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 14 critic

Charlie is an immigrant who endures a challenging voyage and gets into trouble as soon as he arrives in America.

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(uncredited)
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Title: The Immigrant (1917)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Immigrant (as Charlie Chaplin)
...
Eric Campbell ...
The Head Waiter
Albert Austin ...
A Diner
Henry Bergman ...
The Artist
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Storyline

Charlie is on his way to the USA. He wins in a card game, puts the money in Edna's bag (she and her sick mother have been robbed of everything). When he retrieves a little for himself he is accused of being a thief. Edna clears his name. Later, broke, Charlie finds a coin and goes into a restaurant. There he finds Edna, whose mother has died, and asks her to join him. When he reaches for the coin to pay for their meals it is missing (it has fallen through a hole in his pocket). Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 June 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Modern Columbus  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

Goofs

An axe disappears off a wall between shots during the craps game. Chaplin originally shot a gag using the axe (photos of this sequence exist) but cut it from the final film, which created a continuity error. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Effective in blending genres and relating to the populous at the time
20 July 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It really is no surprise to recognize that Charlie Chaplin's short The Immigrant deeply resonated with the, at that time, present day immigrants who came to America with the mindset to make something of themselves in "the land of opportunities," but had to settle for laborious blue collar work before they could even hope to become moderately successful. That kind of drudgery takes a toll on people, and Chaplin's early, 1917 short shows the real struggle as the lovable Tramp finds himself aboard a steamer in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. An immigrant of little skill, he spends his days on the ship playing cards, eating in an unstable cafeteria, and trying to avoid cramped, tired, and seasick passengers while keeping in mind the opportunities he will likely be granted with in America.

The Tramp winds up befriending an unidentified immigrant (Edna Purviance) along the way, who is traveling to America with her sick mother, both of whom were victim to a pickpocket, who is losing in a high-stakes game of gambling aboard the ship. The Tramp winds up trying to restore the wealth of the two women, but gets mistaken for being a pickpocket, and is only set free thanks to the good word put in by the immigrant woman. The two part ways once the ship docks, but are unaware that this is only the beginning of their encounter.

While The Immigrant definitely infuses comedy into its premise, it simply can't wholly disguise what a sad and often heartbreaking tale this short actually depicts. As it plays out, it becomes a tad more heartbreaking but also a great deal more beautiful, as we see a nice relationship develop between the two characters who effectively carry out strong emotions for each other. Chaplin is unsurprisingly quick-witted with his comedy and strong in the more dramatic instances in the film, while Purviance plays her character to the degree of achieving a certain sympathy but not giving us a character we're supposed to pity for a long period of time. The Immigrant effectively demonstrates an early blend of comedy and tragedy to the degree that Shakespeare may have found quite effective and relatable.

Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance, and Eric Campbell. Directed by: Charlie Chaplin.


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