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The Idle Class (1921)

A tramp sneaks into a upper class golf resort. The tramp meets a rich woman who is having an argument with her drunken husband. Complications arise when she mistakes the tramp for her husband.


Charles Chaplin (as Charlie Chaplin)


Charles Chaplin (as Charlie Chaplin)




Complete credited cast:
Charles Chaplin ... Tramp / Husband (as Charlie Chaplin)
Edna Purviance ... Edna, Neglected Wife


The conflict here is between Charlie the wealthy and alcoholic husband and Charlie the Tramp: the idle rich and the idle poor. In the opening scene wealthy Edna descends from a Pullman car while the Tramp crawls out from under another one. At a fancy masquerade ball Edna's husband appears as a knight whose visor is stuck closed. The Tramp shows up, running from the law, and is mistaken for the husband. Edna finds the new "husband" more to her liking than the real one. When true identities are revealed, a fight breaks out and the Tramp is ejected. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


HIM AND HIMSELF He's as funny as him as he is as himself. A fun-fable of a minnow that went swimming with gold fish. Poor Fish! (Print Ad- Nashua Telegraph, ((Nashua, NH)) 5 December 1921)


Short | Comedy


TV-G | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Charles Chaplin as The Tramp takes an item out of his pocket to help open the visor of The Husband who is wearing a suit of armor. Most modern audiences probably don't recognize that the item is an old-fashioned can opener--an item a tramp would likely carry on his person. See more »


When the father-in-law smacks Charlie's doppelganger in their room, the feather falls off his armor helmet. When the father-in-law pulls him out of the room into the hall, the feather is back on the helmet. See more »


Husband: My wife - - and flirting.
See more »


Featured in Born in '45 (1966) See more »

User Reviews

Sporadic Chaplin has a gem or two.
13 January 2012 | by st-shotSee all my reviews

This Chaplin short opens promising enough with elegant Edna Purviance arriving at the station tres elegante simultaneously with The Tramp falling out of a dust bin setting the stage for the his entrance into high society. But first he must put in a round of golf. While he brings his clubs he neglects to bring a ball. Meanwhile Edna's alchholic husband, also played by Chaplin forgets to pick her as well as his pants up.

This Chaplin lacks the energy and tightness of his usual short. Playing dual roles he comes up with some excellent bits making nice use of the sport of golf but the scene which starts promisingly enough quickly becomes disjointed and overlong. The masquerade ball where his identity is mistaken for Purviance's husband also has some fun moments as Charlie attempts to explain but a scene with his other character stuck in a knights armored helmet (something Peter Sellers would refine forty years in the future) goes on too long interrupting Charlie who works best alone though the films final seconds has a subversive extra that should elicit joy from the masses.

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Official Sites:






Release Date:

25 September 1921 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vanity Fair See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System) (re-issue)| Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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