Mother, Father and Daughter go to the park. The women dose off on a bench while the father plays a hide-and-seek game with a girl, blindfolded. Charlie leads him into a lake. Both dozing ladies on the bench fall for Charlie and invite him for dinner. The father returns home with a friend. Charlie rushes upstairs and dresses like a woman, shaving his moustache. Both men fall for Charlie.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
The Essanay short pictures were for the most part a period of development and experimentation for Charlie Chaplin, but every now and then he just liked to do a bit of old fashioned mucking about. A Woman, his ninth film at this studio, begins with a mischievous, Keystone-ish farce-in-the-park, followed by a sequence based around one simple but very memorable gimmick.
In spite of its basic outline, A Woman does show the advances Chaplin had made and the professionalism with which he now crafted his pictures. He sets up the location and the main characters in a couple of economic introductory shots before having his tramp character invade the scene. Charlie himself then appears in the distance, his now-familiar silhouette all that is needed to announce that the mayhem can now begin. Throughout, Chaplin uses a lot of close-ups of faces, something he was doing a fair bit around this time, which perhaps shows a lack of confidence in the impact his gags had in full body shot. Here however I feel all these close-ups act as a build up to that startling (and I must say absolutely gorgeous) shot of "Nora's" feminised face.
Because of the set-up, we see the tramp at his cheekiest, perhaps a step back for the character, but an enjoyable step back. A Woman lacks the pathos and commentary of the more story-orientated Chaplin shorts that were starting to appear around this time, but it shows how much fun and funniness Charlie could create out of the simplest of elements.
which brings us to that all-important statistic –
Number of kicks up the arse: 3 (1 for, 2 against)
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