6.1/10
713
6 user 5 critic

The New Janitor (1914)

Charlie is janitor for a firm the manager of which receives a threatening note about his gambling debts. He throws a bucket of water out the window which lands on his boss and costs him his... See full summary »

Director:

Charles Chaplin (uncredited)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Rounders (1914)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Two drunks live in the same hotel. One beats his wife, the other is beaten by his. They go off and get drunk together. They try to sleep in a restaurant using tables as beds and are thrown ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Phyllis Allen
The Masquerader I (1914)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Charlie is an actor in a film studio. He messes up several scenes and is tossed out. Returning dressed as a lady, he charms the director. Even so, Charlie never makes it into film, winding up at the bottom of a well.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Chester Conklin
Laughing Gas (1914)
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Charlie pretends to be a dentist though he is only his assistant. When a patient can't stop laughing from the anesthesia Charlie knocks him out with a club. He is sent to the drug store, ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Fritz Schade, Alice Howell
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Charlie meets a couple and agrees to care for the man's crippled uncle. After the couple breaks up the man's new girl drops some eggs which Charlie slips on while trying to control the ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Charley Chase, Peggy Page
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Charlie and his partner are to deliver a piano to 666 Prospect St. and repossess one from 999 Prospect St. They confuse the addresses. The difficulties of delivering the piano by mule cart,... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Fritz Schade
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Charlie is hanging around in the park, finding problems with a jealous suitor, a man who thinks that Charlie has robbed him a watch, a policeman and even a little boy, all because our friend can't stop snooping.

Directors: Joseph Maddern, Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Minta Durfee, Edgar Kennedy
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Charlie and another waiter must become bakers when the regular bakers go out on strike. The strikers put dynamite in a piece of bread which is delivered to the cake counter. It winds up in the oven and explodes.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Chester Conklin, Fritz Schade
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

The plot is a satire derived from Hugh Antoine D'Arcy's poem of the same title. The painter courts Madeleine but loses to the wealthy client who sits for his portrait. The despairing artist... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Cecile Arnold, Jess Dandy
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

When a married couple become separated in the park, Charlie takes up with the lady and is beat up when her husband rejoins her. He takes a room in their hotel, and she sleepwalks into his ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Alice Davenport
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Charlie and a rival vie for the favors of their landlady. In the park they each fall for different girls, though Charlie's has a male friend already. Charlie considers suicide, is talked ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Chester Conklin, Cecile Arnold
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Accosted by a masher in the park and unable to motivate husband Charlie into taking action, Mabel gets him a boxing mannequin to sharpen his fighting skills.

Director: Mack Sennett
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Mack Swain
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Charlie has trouble with actors' luggage and conflicts over who gets the star's dressing room. There are further difficulties with frequent scene changes, wrong entries and a fireman's hose... See full summary »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Phyllis Allen, Charles Bennett
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles Chaplin ... Janitor
John T. Dillon John T. Dillon ... Villainous Manager
Al St. John ... Elevator Boy
Glen Cavender ... Luke Connor - Gambler
Jess Dandy Jess Dandy ... Bank President
Frank Hayes ... Accountant
Peggy Page Peggy Page ... Secretary
Edit

Storyline

Charlie is janitor for a firm the manager of which receives a threatening note about his gambling debts. He throws a bucket of water out the window which lands on his boss and costs him his job. The boss, attempting to steal the money heeds from the office safe, is caught by his secretary and Charlie comes to save her and the money. He is briefly accused of being the thief but ultimately triumphs. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 September 1914 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Carlitos Porteiro See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Keystone Film Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

During the making of this film, Chaplin discovered that he had a talent of injecting real emotional power into his work. That proved plain when an observing actress began weeping during shooting at the pathos of a scene where the fired janitor is pleading with his boss to get his job back. See more »

Connections

Featured in Charlie Chaplin: The Little Tramp (1980) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A well constructed comedy, courtesy of The New Filmmaker
15 August 2015 | by wmorrow59See all my reviews

When I first saw this short, a long time ago, I knew the star comedian only from excerpts in silent comedy compilations. If I'm not mistaken The New Janitor was the very first Chaplin film I watched from beginning to end; in any case it was definitely the first of Chaplin's Keystone comedies I'd ever seen. (Permit me a moment of nostalgia: the format for that first viewing was 8mm, a silent print created by the Blackhawk Corporation of Davenport, Iowa, projected on a wall in my home.) And I was surprised at how good it was, because the one thing I kept hearing about Chaplin's Keystones was that his early screen persona was cruel or at least amoral, while the films themselves were slapdash, violent, crude in every sense of the word, and usually lacking any coherent plot or sympathetic characters. As I explored the rest of Chaplin's output from his first year in the movies I found a few shorts—though not the majority—which conform to that stereotype, but this most certainly isn't one of them. The New Janitor tells a concise story, with elements of surprise and suspense. Characters are clearly delineated: we learn just what we need to know about each person on screen in a matter of moments. And Charlie, who of course plays the title role, is a very sympathetic figure indeed, although he doesn't forget to make us laugh.

Our story is set in an office building. Janitor Charlie must shuffle up many flights of stairs all day long, because he's repeatedly shut out of the elevator by its mean-spirited operator (Al St. John). This running gag, by the way, not only makes Charlie a sympathetic figure from the opening scene, but also contributes to the suspense of the finale. At any rate, we soon figure out the relationships in the office hierarchy. There's the boss (Jess Dandy), an attractive young secretary (Peggy Page), and a manager (John T. Dillon) who turns out to be a rotter with gambling debts. The plot hinges around the manager's attempt to rob the company safe in order to pay off an impatient creditor. But the secretary walks in on the manager in mid-crime, and finds herself endangered. She manages to summon Charlie, but he, unaware of what is unfolding, must slowly shuffle up those stairs to answer the summons. Once he arrives, he instantly and almost casually acts in a brave and heroic manner, knocks the gun from the villain's hand, and rescues the girl. In the ensuing confusion both the boss and then the police assume that Charlie is the culprit, but, much to our relief, the secretary comes to his defense and his heroism is recognized.

This is a very enjoyable short! Chaplin the budding filmmaker really made a great leap forward with The New Janitor. The story is melodramatic but the actors play it straight, and, even a century after the film was made, the plot still draws us in. Interestingly—and atypically—Chaplin is off-screen for a couple of minutes during the middle portion of this short, and if you walked in at that point you might think this film was a drama made at Vitagraph or Thanhouser, but the action commands our attention even when the star is absent. And of course, there are a number of amusing gags along the way, as Charlie juggles a wastebasket, blocks his own entry through a doorway with a horizontally-held broom, deftly "flip kicks" a cigarette through the air, etc. There's even a brief moment of thrill comedy when Charlie nearly falls out a window. And when, at one juncture, the new janitor is fired for ineptitude, we feel for him. Significantly where his character is concerned, he no longer works for the company when the secretary summons him to help, but he answers the call anyway. This is not at all the villainous figure Chaplin played in some of the other Keystones. He's a comic hero, the Charlie Chaplin the world remembers, and in its modest way The New Janitor is one of his first great short comedies.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed