Charlie works on a farm from 4am to late at night. He gets his food on the run (milking a cow into his coffee, holding an chicken over the frying pan to get fried eggs). He loves the ... See full summary »
Charlie works on a farm from 4am to late at night. He gets his food on the run (milking a cow into his coffee, holding an chicken over the frying pan to get fried eggs). He loves the neighbor's daughter Edna but is disliked by her father. He rides a cow into a stream and is kicked off. Unconscious, he dreams of a nymph dance. Back in reality a city slicker is hurt in a car crash and is being cared for by Edna. When Charlie is rejected after attempting to imitate the slicker, the result is ambiguous--either tragic or a happy ending. Critics have long argued as to whether the final scene is real or a dream. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Charlie Chaplin's satirical streak was not reserved solely for pompous authority figures with big bellies and wispy beards. He was not averse to turning his wit outwards and directing it at the very production style and process he himself was a part of. Sunnyside does not lampoon the movie industry rather it makes a joke out of the Chaplin brand which the comic, eager to move on to more sophisticated feature films, was beginning to grow weary of.
Chaplin had practically invented the narrative slapstick comedy, but here he belittles the storytelling aspects that were now a comedy standard, curtailing descriptions of characters and places with "etc, etc, etc" and using a title card to bluntly announce the romantic subplot. Throughout the picture he makes use of his now most clichéd plot devices the abused employee, the sophisticated love rival, the "it-was-all-a-dream" revelation and, of course, numerous examples of his stock slapstick manoeuvre, the kick up the arse.
And yet, it appears Chaplin was incapable of deliberately making a bad picture. There are plenty of decent gags here, especially those at the beginning where Charlie thwarts his employer's attempts to get him out of bed. And even at the height of his sarcasm and hyperbole it seems Chaplin cannot help but work in gags and sub-gags which are genuinely funny. And for all its narrative laziness, Sunnyside is actually strong in its visual storytelling, beginning with the iris on the church spire to set the tone, then opening up the iris to reveal an exquisitely balanced shot of the village. And even the rushed ending is among Chaplin's sweetest in its delicate imagery.
And there's more; the all important statistic Number of kicks up the arse: 24 (2 for, 22 against can this be a record?)
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