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The Immigrant (1917)

Unrated  |   |  Short, Comedy, Drama  |  17 June 1917 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,480 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 15 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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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

According to Kevin Brownlow's and David Gill's documentary series Unknown Chaplin (1983), the first scenes to be written and filmed take place in what became the movie's second half, in which the penniless Tramp finds a coin and goes for a meal in a restaurant, not realizing that the coin has fallen out of his pocket. It was not until later that Charles Chaplin decided the reason the Tramp was penniless was that he had just arrived on a boat from Europe, and used this notion as the basis for the first half. Edna Purviance reportedly was required to eat so many plates of beans during the many takes to complete the restaurant sequence (in character as another immigrant who falls in love with Charlie) that she became physically ill. See more »

Goofs

In the restaurant scene, after the customer is beaten up and thrown out for being 10 cents short, his hat is seen on the floor next to the cashier's desk. When the waiters come back in, the hat is gone. See more »

Connections

Featured in Star Power: The Creation of United Artists (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of my Favorite Chaplin Films
30 October 2012 | by (Spring Hill, FL) – See all my reviews

This was my first ever exposure to the works of Charlie Chaplin and remains one of my favorites. We watched THE IMMIGRANT at the introduction to our discussion of silent film in my film history class and it was this movie (as well as EASY STREET, my all-time favorite Chaplin) that solidified my Chaplin fandom. It's clever, funny, and tells a pretty coherent story over the course of its meager twenty-four minute run-time, which isn't necessarily the case for all his films in my opinion. Whereas some just seem to drop Chaplin in an amusing situation and let him do his thing (e.g. THE CURE, where he's let loose in a health spa), THE IMMIGRANT tells the brief story of…well…an immigrant. Chaplin's lovable tramp is one of many immigrants huddled aboard a ship bound for America where he hopes to make a new life. On his journey, he meets and falls for a beautiful woman making the journey to America with her ill mother. Upon making landfall, Chaplin is penniless (having given his gambling winnings to the beautiful woman after her mother's money was stolen) and hungry. He finds a coin in the streets and pops into a restaurant for a meal when he crosses paths with the woman again. He continues to woe her, hoping to win her heart while at the same time dodging the angry brute of a waiter who's not afraid to rough up patrons who try to skip out on a bill.

THE IMMIGRANT is one of the most consistently funny Chaplin short films I've had the pleasure of watching. The gags are funny and, unlike some of his other films, the jokes don't run on too long. As I mentioned before, I also love the fact that there's a solid little story in there. It's the usual stuff: boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy wins girl. We've seen the same thing in plenty of his films, but it's the jokes and visual gags that make each movie special. I love the entire restaurant sequence, with Chaplin caught between trying to win the woman's heart while quietly panicking over his restaurant bill when his coin is discovered to be bogus. It's a fun movie and that doesn't wear out it's welcome halfway through with stale gags. I always have a hard time writing comments on Chaplin's films and putting up a convincing argument for new people to check them out; these movies were made before cinematography was more than some basic lighting and a locked down camera so there really isn't much to say aside from…it's funny. Check it out. It won me over and, if you've never seen it, it might win you over as a Chaplin fan too.


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