Charlie, dressed as a tramp for the first time, goes to a baby-cart race in Venice, California. He causes a great deal of trouble and confusion, both on off the track (getting in the way of the cameraman) and on (interfering with the race). He succeeds in irritating both the participants and the public.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Kid Auto Races at Venice is far from Chaplin's best moment on film, but it might be his most important. In an early combination of the reality short subjects that dominated early cinema, and fictional comedy, this short piece features Chaplin as a tramp who annoys several camera crews at a car race.
As the first appearance of Chaplin's Tramp character, this film's place in movie history is secure. As a comedy, it's mildly amusing. Obviously ad libbed, it has an amateurish quality that holds up surprisingly well. It also provides a few thrills as Chaplin is nearly hit by the vehicles several times -- I doubt any of the near-misses were scripted!
There is no denying that this short film is not an example of Chaplin's best work on film, but every serious Chaplin fan, or cinema historian, needs to see it at least once.
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