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 <email@example.com>
Sunnyside reminds me of some of the early films in Alfred Hitchcock's career, like Rich & Strange or The Skin Game, which are curiosity pieces both because they come from such massive directors and are still so empty and disappointing. Like some of Hitch's early films, Sunnyside for Charlie Chaplin represents to me a point in his early career when he was testing the waters and still trying to find out what he is really best at doing.
Some people were disappointed that Chaplin forced the Tramp into the unlikely role of a farmhand, forgetting that the very nature of the Tramp is that he is such an everyman that he can be placed in virtually every different kind of situation, from brick-layer to World War I soldier, and Chaplin can use his particular brand of comedy to deliver his clever political themes and brilliant slapstick.
Some of the situations and sequences don't work so well or run as smoothly as many of Chaplin's more famous ones, and there is a bizarre sequence involving some dancing nymphs, but it is interesting to consider how this early, experimental film foreshadows the work that Chaplin did later in much more famous and highly superior films like City Lights and The Kid. Throughout the film are what may be taken as examples of the exasperation that Chaplin has admitted to having during the production of the film, but to call is a total loss is missing the mark completely. Certainly not the best of Chaplin's early short films, but I don't think Chaplin ever made a real failure.
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