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Charlie Chaplin  




Mutual, 1916.  Directed by Charlie Chaplin.  Camera:  R.H. Totheroh and W.C. Foster.  With Charlie Chaplin, Albert Austin, Henry Bergman, Eric Campbell, Frank J. Coleman, James T. Kelly, Edna Purviance, John Rand.

Charlie is employed in a pawnshop.  He goes about his job in the usual Chaplin manner, by doing such things as insulting customers and dusting an electric fan while it is running.  Charlie and a co-worker get into a quarrel over a ladder they are using to polish the shop sign.  The pawnbroker fires Charlie, who appeals for another chance because of his "eleven children," whom he has hastily invented for the occasion.  The pawnbroker relents.

In the kitchen, Charlie helps the pawnbroker's daughter to dry dishes by passing them through a clothes wringer.  When a man presents a clock to be pawned, Charlie takes it apart, then puts all the pieces in the man's hat and, with sorrow, indicates that it is not acceptable.  A crook comes in and pretends that he wants to pawn an umbrella.  When his attempt to get at the cash register fails, he pretends he wants to buy the pawnshop.  Charlie, who has hidden in a trunk after another violent dispute with his co-worker, spots the crook as he tries to open the shop vault.  Charlie emerges from the trunk, knocks out the crook, and is embraced by the girl for his deed.

Henry Bergman, the portly actor who was to work closely with Chaplin until his death in 1946, made his first appearance in a Chaplin film as the proprietor of the pawnshop.  If Chaplin, in his Mutual films, offered a series of comic essays on the trades and professions, he presented a fantastic gallery of the skilled and unskilled in a few minutes of The Pawnshop.  A man brings in an alarm clock and Charlie accepts it.  Examining it he becomes, successively, a heart specialist, a doctor, a specialist in antiques, a driller, a housewife, a dentist, a plumber, a jeweler, a ribbon clerk, and a cook.  It was, and is, one of the greatest scenes Chaplin ever made.

What Was Said About The Pawnshop:

New York Dramatic Mirror
There is a succession of highly ludicrous scenes with Chaplin the principal figure.  One comedy climax after another follows with amazing rapidity, and Chaplin performs some most amusing stunts as the man-of-all-work around the pawn broking establishment.  He mixes up things with a high hand, messes both the outside and inside, and in some amusing celluloid byplay saves his boss from being robbed.  There is the usual secondary plot consideration, it may even be classified as third, for that matter, for it is Chaplin who enlivens each scene and by his devious and divers ways of handling each situation causes hearty and continued laughter.

To thousands who are yet to see Chaplin, The Pawnshop subject will prove an irresistible laugh-getter.  Chaplin in working in a pawnshop is enabled to mug, run and slide, abuse patrons, and destroy articles brought into the shop for pawn.  An example is where Chaplin takes a clock and piece by piece takes it apart and hammers the mechanical parts as the mood seizes him.  Chaplin himself has never been funnier or indulged in more of his typical Chaplin-isms, and the cast plays up to him in fine style.

The Films of Charlie Chaplin,
by Gerald McDonald, Michael
Conway and Mark Ricci
Bonanza Books, New York 1965