The Count (1916) Poster

(1916)

User Reviews

Review this title
17 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
8/10
It's like The Rink, only without any skating
wmorrow5919 March 2005
This two-reel comedy, one of a dozen Chaplin made under his Mutual contract, offers a story line he followed time and again throughout his career: lower class Charlie fakes his way unto upper class society under an alias, fools people for a while, then wreaks havoc. Sometimes Charlie's fraud is deliberate (as in this film), while on other occasions people mistake him for something he is not, but whatever the case the idea was one Chaplin used regularly, starting with an early Keystone of 1914, Caught in a Cabaret, and recurring in other short comedies of 1915-16 such as A Jitney Elopement and The Rink. The premise turns up as late as 1940 in The Great Dictator, although in that instance the farcical aspect of the plot has turned into a darker political statement. Without getting overly analytical about the matter, it would appear that this scenario held some sort of deep meaning for Chaplin, who grew up in poverty and yet wound up wealthy and celebrated, hobnobbing with some of the most famous people in the world. Was this man insecure about the wealth and power he'd earned? It's not so far-fetched to wonder if Chaplin, recalling his roots in the London slums, might have sometimes felt like a fraud when he found himself dining with the likes of Winston Churchill, Lady Astor or Bernard Shaw.

Anyhow, getting back to the matter at hand: The Count stands as one of Charlie's lightest and most playful short comedies, perhaps not one of his very best but highly enjoyable nonetheless. There's a lot of good byplay between pint-sized Charlie and his most memorable "heavy," the enormous Eric Campbell, who wears an outrageous beard this time around. Campbell plays a tailor and Charlie is his assistant, soon fired for ineptitude; but before long the former apprentice gets mixed up in the conniving tailor's scheme to impersonate a count, in order to court a wealthy heiress (Edna Purviance). I especially enjoyed the bit when Campbell explains his scheme to Charlie, and punctuates the speech with his elbow in a "Get it?" gesture, until Charlie finally slides a wooden chair into place to protect himself. Through various complications Charlie himself is mistaken for the count, and receives royal treatment at a grand party at Edna's mansion, while his boss is forced to serve as his assistant. The party is the setting for a number of amusing comic set-pieces, including a dinner of spaghetti and watermelon (when did you last see these dishes served together?), and a dance in the ballroom. For me, the dance is the film's highlight, as it displays Chaplin at the peak of his physical skill, sliding and gliding about with almost supernatural agility. Only Mickey Mouse could move so well, and with such comic grace!

The Count may not rank with Chaplin's greatest short comedies, but if any of his contemporaries had made this same film it would probably be regarded as something special. It's hard for me to be objective about this particular movie because The Count was one of the first Chaplin comedies I ever saw, way back in grade school, when I borrowed an 8mm print from my local library, threaded it up on my projector, and threw the beam onto a wall of my room. It was the first inkling I had that Chaplin's reputation as a great comedian was so well deserved, the first time I said to myself: "Hey, this guy really IS funny!"
9 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Aristocratic Business
FerdinandVonGalitzien25 February 2007
After having seen in the "Schloss", "The Count", a film directed by Herr Charles Chaplin in the silent year of 1916, this German Count must enumerate both the accurate and inaccurate elements in order to prevent the many misunderstandings that still persist among the longhaired around the world and the provincial aristocracy, even after centuries.

Inaccurate :

· A genuine Count's secretary never accompanies his master to a ball · The free style dancing is not allowed in a ball · In an elegant and aristocratic dinner, ordinary foods such as watermelon or spaghetti never are served. · A wealthy heiress never dances with a man in civvies · A wealthy heiress usually is not young, thin or charming.

Accurate:

· The servants always cause problems for their masters · The aristocratic floors always are waxed · The aristocratic servants wear slovenly wigs · A genuine Count wears top hat and matching moustache

Those were necessary clarifications so in this way it does depict aristocratic business in the correct manner.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must continue in this aristocratic corporate spirit.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Pretty Good Slapstick With Chaplin & Eric Campbell
Snow Leopard30 August 2001
There's not much subtlety in "The Count", but there is some pretty good slapstick. Chaplin regular Eric Campbell gets a big role in this one, and he and Charlie always make a good pair of comic rivals. The settings offer some good props and comic possibilities, and the story and the cast make pretty good use of them, as well as the kind of identity mix-up that Chaplin liked to use. There is pretty good detail in some of the settings as well, making them rather interesting in their own right, as a small look into the daily life of 1916.

Chaplin and Campbell have some good moments in their series of confrontations with one another, getting into a series of antics first in a tailor's shop and then at a formal dinner. The first part moves pretty slowly at times, but then things start to pick up, and there is a rather manic finale. Edna Purviance also appears, but she does not get a lot of material to work with this time.

It's not among the best of Chaplin's shorts, but it's still worthwhile. There are no especially imaginative or innovative ideas here, but there is enough funny slapstick to make it worth seeing.
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
"I'm supposed to be a count"
Steffi_P4 February 2010
In the cinema of Charlie Chaplin, silly facial hair was like a kind of comedy insurance. If all Charlie's antagonists looked suitably ridiculous, the pratfalls would fall that little bit harder and the laughs would be that little bit louder. The Count is a good picture for silly facial hair, from the flapping fuzz of the band leader, to the upturned curiosity of Count Broko, to the wispy behemoth adorning Eric Campbell. Chaplin's reliance on beards and moustaches here gives a clue as to the fact that this is not among his best Mutual Pictures.

It appears he was aiming for here a story of broader social goings-on, with a plot that is funny in itself as Chaplin and Campbell double-cross each other, both trying to pretend to be a count so they can get in with Edna Purviance, until the real count turns up, and mayhem ensues. It's a good idea, but Chaplin is at this stage focusing on milking each scene for potential gags, rather than making the whole thing flow seamlessly. Consequently The Count has a rather disjointed feel, lurching awkwardly from a boss/apprentice set-up of the kind with which Chaplin normally sustained a whole picture, to an elicit meeting between Chaplin and some frumpy cook, to the rather contrived situation in which counts are impersonated. Neither the plot nor the tramp character really seems consistent, and it runs almost like a Charlie Chaplin clip show.

But Chaplin was nevertheless at the top of his game as far as pure comedy went, and there are some of these "clips" are pretty good. The opening scene is a great example of the triumph of absurd ideas over broad slapstick, with Charlie as a tailor who measures a woman's ear, smile and finger. There's a very smooth and pretty ballroom scene, punctuated by a few arse-kicking gags. In the frantic finale there is a rather subtle but very funny juxtaposition, as the band continues to play gently in the background as the other characters run around and fight each other in the foreground. Luckily composer Carl Davis, in his new score for the Mutual films, picks up on this and keeps going with the sedate band music rather than a typical chase theme. And those beards, backups though they may be, do work as a touch of comic sparkle.

So yet again, we come to the all-important statistic – Number of kicks up the arse: 9 (4 for, 5 against)
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Not his best but still made me chuckle
tgooderson3 September 2012
Charlie Chaplin's fifth film for Mutual is a somewhat simpler film than its immediate predecessors The Vagabond and One A.M. and is more reminiscent of his Essanay work, albeit it more sophisticated and slightly funnier. Chaplin plays an inept Tailor's assistant who gets fired for burning a Count's trousers. His boss (Eric Campbell) finds an invitation to a party at the house of Miss Moneybags (Edna Purviance) and decides to impersonate the rich Count in order to marry the attractive, rich girl. Chaplin is also at the party having snuck in through the back door and beats Campbell to the impersonation. All hell breaks lose though when the real Count arrives, along with the Police to chase out the impostors.

The Count features lots of funny moments but lacks the knockout blow of the likes of One A.M. or The Bank. It's testament to the quality of Chaplin's Mutual films that I felt disappointed by The Count even though it is far superior to a lot of his Essanay work.

Although there were no huge laughs to be found here I still chuckled a lot. For me the funniest scene was the opener in which Chaplin is taking a woman's measurements. First he measures her ears, then her lips before mistakenly giving her a five foot waste and finishing off by measuring one finger. It was totally bonkers. I also liked his embarrassment with regards to going near any of her more private areas and measured her bottom with a ruler from about four feet away. Another funny scene comes late on in the final chase. Here Chaplin is chased through a house and across a slippery dance floor in a very well choreographed sequence.

There are obvious comparisons to be made between this film and A Jitney Elopement in which Chaplin again impersonates a Count to gain Edna Purviance's affections. Chaplin is able to create humour in both films around the dinner table, a trait that continued into the rest of his career. Personally I prefer A Jitney Elopement to The Count but both films have their merits.

One final thing of note here is Eric Campbell's beard. It is simply extraordinary even by his standards. I've never seen anything like it before. Ridiculous facial hair is something that is evident in most of Chaplin's earlier films but I think it reaches new levels in The Count.

www.attheback.blogspot.com
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Count On This For Laughs
CitizenCaine1 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Chaplin edited, wrote, directed, and produced his fifth film for the Mutual Film Corporation, and as with each of his previous films with the company, they're all a departure from the preceding film. In this film, Chaplin plays a tailor's assistant who gets fired from his job (by Eric Campbell) for his inability to properly measure a lady for a dress. He gets booted out by Campbell and happens upon a cook in a kitchen who almost immediately has to hide him from what appears to be her spouse or employer. Plenty of fun ensues as Chaplin does not care to be holed up in close quarters with a smelly or burned offering from the cook. Chaplin runs into his old boss in a glitzy mansion, as his boss is there to impersonate a count, so he can wed Miss Moneybags (played by Edna Purviance) and avoid toiling away as a tailor. His ex-boss quickly decides Chaplin can pose as his secretary, so he can continue his pursuit of Purviance as the "count". From here on in, chaos ensues. Chaplin ends up competing with his ex-boss for Purviance's hand, namely on the dance floor where Chaplin exhibits the most anatomically unfeasible dance moves one could imagine. There's plenty of fun at the dinner table also as spaghetti and watermelon are both served! Audiences loved when the common man got the better of the upper-crust, and so it's no wonder Chaplin used this idea of posing as or being mistaken for upper class society with regularity. However, in this film, the antics and plot development are much more harried than usual. *** of 4 stars.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
pretty good but not exceptional
MartinHafer6 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In 1914 and early 1915, Chaplin did his first comedy shorts. In general, they were pretty awful--with almost no plot and consisting of him mugging it up on camera and hitting people. However, in 1915 he left Keystone Studio and began making better films with Essenay (though there are some exceptions) and finally, in 1916, to Mutual where he made his best comedy shorts. These newer films had more plot and laughs and usually didn't rely on punching or kicking when they ran out of story ideas.

This film isn't bad, but it does seem a bit hard to follow thanks to a lack of title cards in the film to explain the action. My assumption is that the original version had them but they weren't in the prints used to make THE ESSENTIAL CHARLIE CHAPLIN COLLECTION set. Charlie is a tailor's assistant and his boss finds an invitation for the county to a fancy dinner. The boss decides to go in the count's place so he can try to marry the rich young lady throwing the party (though what woman in her right mind would want this creep?). Charlie also goes to the same home, but to visit with the cook. Later, he sneaks away and crashed the party and finds his evil boss putting the moves on this lady. Shortly afterwords, the REAL Count shows up and the ruse is exposed.

Like another reviewer stated, this is pretty reminiscent of THE RINK, though THE RINK is a clearly superior film because THE COUNT has very few laughs. An interesting story but just not all that funny. I did, however, love Chaplin's physicality in the film--he was incredibly agile and watching him move was a treat.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Funny as hell
luciferjohnson28 January 2005
Charlie and Eric Campbell are in top form is this very amusing short. Charlie plays a tailor's assistant and Campbell is his boss. They wind up by coincidence (!) at the same rich lady's party, where both compete for the daughter Miss Moneybags, played by Edna Purviance.

The plot is, of course, completely ridiculous, and the whole thing is totally silly and contrived--which is just how it should be. The highlight is a hilarious dance sequence, with Charlie at his acrobatic best. There is a lot of cake-throwing and bottom-kicking. The latter is such a standard device in Chaplin movies that I wonder if there might have been some kind of underlying S&M thing going on here.

Not one of his best, but standard Charlie is Grade A stuff. Still very very funny.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Nice Short Chaplin
TheOtherFool4 April 2004
Another one of those mistaken-identities and chased-by-the-cops Chaplin short, but hell, that's always funny!

The story starts of with Charlie working in a tailor-shop. Great gags there while measuring a woman and destroying a jacket. Because he screws up he gets fired.

Him and Campbell both attend to the party of Edna's 20th birthday, while actually a count was invited. When exposed, Charlie gets chased around the place and finally leaves into the distant.

Pretty funny stuff from the master of slapstick. Not his best, but not his worst either. And a mediocre Chaplin still is way better than an average movie...

7/10.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Nice little satire
rbverhoef11 January 2004
Charlie Chaplin goes to a party and he pretends to be a certain count. He doesn't act like a count but they all believe he is one until the real count shows up.

This is another fine Charlie Chaplin movie where he does some nice satire on higher society. It starts a little slow but once they are on that party it gets very funny.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Aristocratic Chaplin
TheLittleSongbird11 June 2018
Am a big fan of Charlie Chaplin, have been for over a decade now. Many films and shorts of his are very good to masterpiece, and like many others consider him a comedy genius and one of film's most important and influential directors.

From his post-Essanay period after leaving Keystone, 'The Count' is not one of his very best but is one of his best early efforts and among the better short films of his. It shows a noticeable step up in quality though from his Keystone period, where he was still evolving and in the infancy of his long career, from 1914, The Essanay and Mutual periods were something of Chaplin's adolescence period where his style had been found and starting to settle. Something that can be seen in the more than worthwhile 'The Count'.

The story is more discernible than usual and is never dull, but is sometimes a bit too busy and manic.

On the other hand, 'The Count' looks pretty good, not incredible but it was obvious that Chaplin was taking more time with his work and not churning out countless shorts in the same year of very variable success like he did with Keystone. Appreciate the importance of his Keystone period and there is some good stuff he did there, but the more mature and careful quality seen here and later on is obvious.

While not one of his most hilarious or touching, 'The Count' is still very funny with some clever, entertaining and well-timed slapstick and has substance and pathos that generally were not there with Keystone. It moves quickly and there is no dullness in sight. The ending is great fun.

Chaplin directs more than competently, if not quite cinematic genius standard yet. He also, as usual, gives an amusing and expressive performance and at clear ease with the physicality and substance of the role. The supporting cast acquit themselves well, particularly Eric Campbell.

Overall, very enjoyable. 8/10 Bethany Cox
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A surrealist comedy of manners
guisreis14 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is a somewhat surrealist comedy of manners. What if the most nonsense tailor, after having been fired, pretends to be a rich count in a fancy party, stealing the place of his ex-boss (Eric Campbell)? They both are interested in the same woman, who is predictably Edna Purviance, in a Popeye-Bluto-OliveOil-type triangle. Very funny and campy short film. It lacks the emotional element of other films from Chaplin, but the gestures of Charlie are hilarious as often. The spectator may expect a lot of action and trouble, which come from the insane behavior of the tramp as a tailor, from the confusions caused by the party crash, the lack of etiquette from the working class guy, the crush for two women in the party, and the rivalry between ex-boss and ex-employee.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Chaplin the fake count
Petey-1023 February 2014
Charlie Chaplin is tailor's (Campbell) handyman but is fired after he burns a count's trousers.Then they both end up at a party pretending to be a count.And they both want to win the heart of Miss Moneybags (Purviance).The Count from 1916 is Charles Chaplin's 5th movie for Mutual Film Corporation.This short comedy is pretty funny, not his best though.But it's a lot of fun to watch Charlie taking measurements from the lady customer.The eating scene is mildly amusing.Chaplin shows us his physical comedy skills on the dance floor with Edna.And on some other places, too.He was a true comedian who knew what was funny to the audiences of that day and tomorrow.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
David Jeffers for SIFFblog.com
rdjeffers16 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Monday Septembeer 17, 7:00pm, The Paramount Theater

An enormous tailor (Eric Campbell) impersonates Count Broko in order to attend the party of beautiful heiress, Miss Moneybags (Edna Purviance). He discharges his assistant (Charles Chaplin) for incompetence, then discovers him at the party. The tailor pleads with his former employee to pose as his secretary, but Charlie rushes instead to announce he is the Count, and a competition for Miss Moneybag's attention ensues. When the real Count (Leo White) arrives, the tailor is arrested, while Charlie waddles down the sidewalk and into the distance.

In The Count, Chaplin revisits the theme of the role playing impostor intruding on the upper classes as he satirizes established social conventions. He invents bizarre dining etiquette as he shares a meal while seated between the tailor and the composed but concerned heiress, then vies with another guest (Albert Austin) for her attention on the impossibly slippery floor, in an outrageous dancing finale.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Don't count on Chaplin to always deliver
Horst_In_Translation30 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"The Count" is another Charlie Chaplin 20-minute short film. It was made in 1916, almost 100 years ago or maybe over 100 years already when you read this review. It was silent and black-and-white obviously and is considered one of the films Chaplin made during his strongest years before his full feature film career. Sadly, I cannot agree in this very particular case. I found this one of his more forgettable films. Purviance and Campbell are welcome additions as always, but I am not too big on Chaplin films that are basically nothing but a collection of slapstick and other comedic elements. It would have been nice to actually see a better storyline in this one here. Not recommended and I suggest you check out some of his superior short films. There are enough that fit this description.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Charlie in Society
lugonian11 April 2015
THE COUNT (Mutual Studios, 1916), Written, Directed and starring Charlie Chaplin, has the legendary comedian at it again in his fifth of twelve comedy shorts for Mutual. Not exactly doing a spoof on Count Dracula nor The Count of Monte Cristo, The Count in this comedy happens to be a man Charlie impersonates only by accident.

Charlie is introduced as an assistant tailor whose method of measuring one of the female customers and burning a handful of clothes with an iron gets him fired by his stern employer (Eric Campbell). While getting fired seems to take part of his every day existence, rather than looking for another job, Charlie comes to an estate to pay a visit to his lady friend (Eva Thatcher) who not only works there as a cook, but entertains other gentlemen callers as well. In the meantime, the head tailor discovers a note in the suit belonging to one of his customers, Count Broko, addressed to Mrs. Moneybags explaining he cannot attend a function where he's to be introduced to her wealthy daughter. Seeing this the opportunity for richness, the tailor takes it upon himself by dressing up to impersonate the honored guest and come to the society party himself. As fate would have it, the Moneybags estate happens to be where Charlie is visiting. An accidental meeting has Charlie passing himself off as Count Broko with his ex-boss being his personal secretary rather than the other way around as originally intended. As the function gets underway, the two rivals begin to vie for the affection of Miss Moneybags (Edna Purviance), but things don't go on as initially planned.

For a Charlie Chaplin comedy, Charlie Chaplin naturally is the whole show. His show is commonly shared by an assortment of Chaplin stock players of featured support consisting of familiar faces of Albert Austin (The Guest); Frank J. Coleman (The Policeman); Leo White (Count Broko); Charlotte Mineau (Mrs. Moneybags); James T. Kelly (The Butler). Chaplin antics consist attempting to eat Limburger cheese; eating at a society function and his method of eating watermelon; his style of dancing with Miss Moneybags; and situations leading to a latter-day Three Stooges-type of finish. While some clever sounding names as Moneybags were used for the society family, it's interesting that Chaplin didn't come up with names of Taylor the Tailor for either himself or Eric Campbell.

As usual, Chaplin and Campbell, rivaling each other for the affections of a society girl, are highlights of the evening. No doubt their physical union were the inspiration of the much latter cartoon escapes of sailors, the short Popeye and the tall, rugged and bearded Bluto. While Popeye ate spinach as his method of strength and fight, Chaplin uses clever ideas and swift kicks when necessary for his.

Many years after its release, THE COUNT had been broadcast on television in various formats: prints from 1930s reissue with orchestration and sound effects commonly found on public television in the sixties and seventies, and later on home video through Blackhawk or Republic Home Video in the 1980s and 90s; different orchestration for the syndication and later PBS television program of "Charlie Chaplin Comedy Theater" (1960s); and restored visual copies from KINO Video with new orchestration used for both VHS or DVD formats with corrected silent speed extending the standard 21 minute short to 24, among others. The KINO format is the one often used on Turner Classic Movies cable channel (TCM premiere: December 6, 1999).

A society comedy which Chaplin would attempt again, THE COUNT, though average, does have some moments of fun and amusements. With perfectionist Chaplin improving himself from one film after another, better comedies lay ahead. Next Chaplin Mutual comedy: THE PAWN SHOP (1916). (***)
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
More misinformation (not unlike, "Waste--five feet")
charlytully14 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In this short, subtitled "The Phoney (sic) Nobleman" on-screen, Charlie Chaplin plays a tailor's apprentice fired for mis-measuring a woman's waist, since he had his measuring tape circling BOTH the customer's bottom AND the mannequin's middle at the same time. The tailor's apprentice makes the notation "Waste--five feet," which apparently is not accurate enough to meet his employer's standards. Which is an analogous situation to the accuracy displayed by IMDb, versus Wikipedia's standards. While Wikipedia requires a source footnote for every claimed "fact," IMDb frequently runs with unattributed MISinformation. Take the running time of this short as an example. IMDb baldly claims it is "34 minutes." My DVD time counter states otherwise: 20 minutes, 32 seconds. Hence, IMDb is claiming--seemingly with no authority--that my DVD was missing 37.5 per cent of this film. However, I studied the 12 user reviews about THE COUNT previously submitted to IMDb during the past 10 years, and EVERY SECOND described in ALL of them were contained in the 20:32 on my DVD. Logically, this means there is either 12-minutes of secret self-contained prologue and\or epilogue material contained in some arcane description of the original no one at IMDb sees fit to share with us ordinary users, OR the folks who run this site just plug in any old "technical specifications" with no effort to check for accuracy. (As an underemployed fact checker, I not only would be happy to help out with this possible need--hopefully on on full-time, paid basis, but I know of several other people that are qualified and able to pitch in during this time of need.)
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed