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The Floorwalker (1916)

TV-G | | Short, Comedy | 15 May 1916 (USA)
The Tramp is tricked into impersonating an embezzling floorwalker in a department store.

Director:

Charles Chaplin
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles Chaplin ... Impecuneous Customer
Eric Campbell Eric Campbell ... Store Manager
Edna Purviance ... Secretary
Lloyd Bacon ... Floorwalker
Albert Austin Albert Austin ... Shop Assistant
Charlotte Mineau Charlotte Mineau ... Store Detective
Leo White ... Elegant Customer
James T. Kelley ... Lift Boy
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Storyline

After causing havoc on the sales floor Charlie goes to the office floor. There he runs into the store inspector (who looks exactly like him) who has just robbed the safe and knocked out the manager. Charlie thinks he is in front of a mirror till he notices he holds a stock and his "image" the bag of loot. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Comedy

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1916 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shop See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lone Star Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2013) (restored)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was noted for the first "running staircase" (escalator) used in films. See more »

Alternate Versions

Kino International distributes a set of videos containing all the 12 Mutual short films made by Chaplin in 1915 - 1917. They are presented by David Shepard, who copyrighted the versions in 1984, and has a music soundtrack composed and performed by Michael Mortilla who copyrighted his score in 1989. The running time of this film is 24 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Modern Times (1936) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
"Spondulicks forever!"
30 December 2009 | by Steffi_PSee all my reviews

This is the first picture Charlie Chaplin made at Mutual studios. After a year-long maturing period at Essanay, he had at last set off in search of greater creative freedom and vastly inflated salaries. This is precisely what Mutual gave him.

The most obvious difference between the Floorwalker and the shorts that went before it is the level of confidence and cinematic professionalism Chaplin now displays. There is a lengthy opening sequence before the little tramp even appears, establishing the antagonists and the scam in which Charlie will later become embroiled. Eric Campbell is introduced with a formidable close-up, giving him a more menacing and memorable entrance. There's also a bit of bold cross-cutting, some of which becomes a joke in itself. For example, we cut back-and-forth from Albert Austin tussling with the essentially harmless Charlie, while behind his back a gang of thieves rob the store blind. That particular gag also shows his willingness to sometimes move the camera away from himself, making his little tramp the cause of the comedy but not the focus of it. These were all techniques Chaplin had used before, but never quite to this extent or with this much bravura.

With a new studio came new supporting actors, and here we see the introduction of two very important figures in the Chaplin career. Most noticeable of these was the stupendous Eric Campbell, who fulfilled in the Mutual films the role of the bully. Campbell's appeal works on the old adage of "the bigger they come the harder they fall", but he's also a wonderfully expressive comedy character, all his movements looking comically exaggerated because of his size. The floorwalker also marks the debut of Albert Austin, who does a similar job to that of Billy Armstrong in the Essanays, that is, a lanky twerp for Charlie to wind up. He makes a good impression here, tumbling helplessly and striving to maintain his dignity. Fortunately, Chaplin brought across some of his best collaborators from the Essanay days, but Leo White and even Edna Purviance get a bit lost among all the new faces here. Honourable mentions go to Charlotte Mineau and Lloyd Bacon, both of whom had bit parts in a few Essanay pictures, now appearing in meatier roles.

In spite of its technical polish and auspicious debuts, it has to be said that the Floorwalker is one of the less entertaining Mutual pictures. It has its moments (surely the best of which is Charlie's "mirror-image" routine with Lloyd Bacon, repeated years later by the Marx brothers in Duck Soup), but there is bit too much going on and a few too many characters, with not enough high quality comedy in between. Chaplin would have to do a little better than this to justify his hefty new pay packet.

Still, let us not forget that all-important statistic – Number of kicks up the arse: 6 (3 for, 3 against)


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