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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Charles Chaplin edited the film for four days and nights without sleep in order to release it on schedule. See more »
When the ship arrives in New York harbor it is moving in a southward direction as indicated by the passing view of the Statue of Liberty. But a ship arriving in New York would be heading north, not south. See more »
Immortal comedy that can only be considered the work of a genius.
"The Immigrant" was the film that changed my entire perception of Chaplin. I had no idea whatsoever that a silent film could actually make me laugh much less tell a coherent story.
The way Chaplin set up the boat scene was excellent. It was filthy, overcrowded, and uncomfortable and it made me want to "root" for the prosperity of the immigrants. The writing was again much better than I could have expected such as in the scene where he gives his winnings to a poor woman but is mistaken for stealing them. The audience found the flip flopping of dishes (and passengers) on deck to be very funny. I thought it to be a bit schticky, but pleasantly humorous.
The restaurant scene however, left an impression on me that I will hold onto my entire career in film. The beans in the coffee and the imposing thug waiter were a hoot but I particularly liked his methods of peaks and valleys and letting the audience in on secrets while masking them from the characters. These techniques kept us interested such as when he finds the coin (peak), loses the coin (valley, secret), then snakes the artist's tip to pull off paying for the meal (peak, secret). It wasn't so much the antics or writing of that particular scene that affected me though they were outrageously comical. It was rather, a realization that I was in a room with a large majority of teenagers many of whose grandparents weren't even born when this film was made yet these teenagers were all laughing hysterically. How is it that a man's writing and performance make men, women and children laugh in the 20's, 50's, 70's, AND 90's? The answer is immortal comedy that can only be considered the work of a genius.
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