|Index||5 reviews in total|
This works all right, although it could probably have been better. The
story concerns a brutish criminal (Broncho Billy Anderson) who goes through
some experiences that cause him to reconsider his way of life - the kind of
story that was fairly common in the two-reel features of the era. One
problem is that for quite a while it wavers inconsistently between tension
and slapstick, so that it's hard to tell where it is going. It's
interesting to see Charlie Chaplin in a couple of the scenes, but he's
really just a sidelight.
The story itself has a worthwhile point, but would have been even more effective in more skilled hands. Someone like D.W. Griffith could have made it easier for the audience to overlook the crucial coincidences in the plot, and could have evoked more emotion in the climactic scenes. It's not a bad movie, though; it's just that there are obvious ways it could have been better.
This is a short that is included in the 2nd Essanay Chaplin DVD from
Blackhawk Films. It's the last on the DVD and is NOT a short starring
Chaplin. In fact, it's a Bronco Billy short and Chaplin makes a couple
walk-on appearances early in the film that has nothing to do with the
film at all. It looked like while they were filming, Chaplin just
jumped into the scene and then left several times JUST WHEN THE MOVIE
FIRST BEGAN. After that, Chaplin's gone and the film without him, isn't
interesting. So, this film is just for the die-hard fans of Chaplin who
want to see everything Charlie did.
A better and much more satisfying uncredited Chaplin walk-on is the movie THE NUT. In this Douglas Fairbanks comedy, there is a show in which the hero pretends to imitate various famous people at a party. The Chaplin imitation REALLY IS CHAPLIN!!! Now that's funny!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bronco Billy Anderson wrote, directed, and starred in this film about a burglar faced with possibly getting caught in the act. Anderson, who starred in and/or directed hundreds of films in the silent era, was known primarily for westerns. This film has a contemporary setting, and Anderson plays a burglar who could get turned in. Anderson is shot in an argument over a girl in a dance hall, and later he comes upon the same girl who helps him in an unexpected way. Redemption via a beautiful woman was a common theme in silent films, and somehow this was palatable to audiences of the time who may have been easily swayed by the new medium's ability to manipulate. Charles Chaplin has a few brief moments in the crowd scenes. Look fast for Lloyd Bacon and silent mainstay Snub Pollard. *1/2 of 4 stars.
Although this movie is considered as a Western (not only in IMDb), I don't think it fits well the genre. If you consider it as a Western, anyway, it is probably the only film of that genre in which Chaplin has taken part. Besides the initial credits say that it was "slightly assisted by Charles Chaplin", Charlie has also played the Tramp in a funny but unimportant scene in the saloon, which is the only interesting scene in the whole film, which I consider very boring. One year afterwards Chaplin made a remake of this film, "Police", which is much better and is not a Western for sure. The story of the criminal redeemed by a beautiful blondie is basically the same, but having the Tramp as the thief and not only as a flirting customer in a bar makes everything different.
Did slapstick comedy make storytelling more accessible to the working
Without a question of a doubt, Chaplin's early one and two reeler comedies were dull. I'm almost embarrassed to say that I am a Chaplin fan. 'His Regeneration' is a waste of time for Chaplin fans, but his slapstick did make storytelling more accessible to the working classes.
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