1917: 2 movies

(Last updated 12 November 2012)


The Immigrant
Directed, co-produced, co-written, edited,
and starring Charles Chaplin
Co-starring Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, and Albert Austin
Cinematography by Roland Totheroh
Set props by George Cleethorpe
For the Mutual Film Company

   Yes, some of the humor may have worn out, but the poetry and ballet-like movements certainly make this one an all-time great. The rocking motion of the boat in the first half is quite a great effect. Chaplin's ability to blend social statements with a love-story is made all the more delicious because of the wide spectrum of tones used to convey his ideas, from quick-witted comedy to magnified statuesque seriousness. Purviance as usual is stunning.
   By the end of the second half, I felt as if I'd experienced a novel's worth of beauty, and the whole thing is only 20 or so minutes long! The masterful editing is partly responsible for the movie's success.

Easy Street
Directed, co-written, co-produced, edited
and starring Charles Chaplin
Co-starring Eric Campbell, Edna Purviance, and Albert Austin
Some cinematography by Roland Totheroh
Set props by George Cleethorpe
Produced for the Mutual Film Company

   The tramp finds religion, becomes a cop, and deals with gangs, drugs, and poverty. The chemistry between Eric Campbell, the gang leader, and Chaplin, the cop, is spectacular, as are the detailed sets. Every object seems to pop with life due to the crisp cinematography and the direction which makes use of it all. The chases and fights add spice, as does the sweet romance between Chaplin and Purviance. Chaplin uses every bit of his screen time to color his charismatic character. He skips, twirls his baton, trips, feeds children as if they were chicks, pins his badge on a weary father, and beats a man who mocks him. If there's one thing that can be said about Chaplin's tramp, it's that he's multi-dimensional.

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