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Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Police (1916) Charles Chaplin

Charlie is fresh out of jail, literally closing the prison gates, when he's accosted by a bible thumper in a terrible fake beard who apparently wants to help him go straight. Of course he's really a pickpocket out for anything he can get and Charlie, so recently Convict 999, has to chase him down. Ben Turpin is here again too and I wonder if he ever played a part in a film that involved him not wearing a scary false beard. Here he's obviously some sort of Jewish flophouse owner but he ends up looking more like Groucho Marx in disguise.

Soon Charlie hooks up with his former cell mate, played by future director Wesley Ruggles who would end up being unjustly nominated for an Oscar for the pitiful early western Cimarron. They break into Edna Purviance's house, leaving a cold cocked cop out front. Charlie is as inept a crook as you'd expect him to be, breaking into pianos and stealing flowers. Edna is the star here really, as the Girl of the House, keeping the pair of them busy until the cops get there.

Of course the cops are as inept as the crooks and even slower. I couldn't help but guess that if this had been made today, 90 years on, it wouldn't be a twenty minute comedy short, it would be a reality TV show on MTV.

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