Tuesday 29 May 2007

A Night in the Show (1915) Charles Chaplin

Charlie is all dressed up and sophisticated here, with a suit and tie and a ticket to the show. However the humour isn't up to the same level of sophistication which is all about drunks in the balcony, fights in the front row and pushing fat ladies into fountains. Charlie also gets to try out what seems like every seat in the house, which is funny to start with but gets tired very quickly.

He also ends up on stage more than once and proves to be funnier than the acts, such as La Bell Wienerwurst, the fat belly dancer, and I hope the name was meant to be a joke. Again, there's humour here but all too often the acts are obviously designed to take advantage of where Charlie happens to be at any given moment rather than any form of logic known to man. The snake charmer has to be the most sued snake charmer in history, for instance, and yet everyone carries on watching anyway.

A Night in the Show is unashamedly dumb but somehow it has charm, and while I really didn't want to like Charlie, the obnoxious patron of the arts and Ben Turpin, the badly moustachioed drunk in the balcony who hits Professor Nix the fire eater with the full power of a fire hose, I couldn't help laughing aloud by the end. Maybe that's true talent: making me laugh even when I don't want to.

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