Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Idle Class

Written, directed, edited, scored and starring Charles Chaplin, The Idle Class is the story of the Tramp who inadvertently causes trouble in the world of the rich as he is accused of doing wrong. The film is an exploration into the world of the rich as Chaplin plays dual roles as the Tramp and as a rich man. Also starring Edna Purviance, Mack Swain, and Henry Bergman. The Idle Class is a witty film from Charles Chaplin.

The film’s premise revolves around the idea of the Tramp at a posh golf course where he causes trouble and is later is mistaken to be the husband of a rich woman since they both look alike. It’s not just a film about mistaken identity but also in how someone like the Tramp manages to stumble into this world of the rich where he just wants to play golf and cause mayhem. Chaplin’s screenplay doesn’t just explore the misadventure that the Tramp creates but also in his doppelganger in this rich man who is an alcoholic as he alienated his wife who is thinking about leaving him. When the Tramp encounters her, he imagines what it would be like to be with her yet their own eventual encounter would also cause mayhem.

Chaplin’s direction is quite simple in terms of its compositions yet he does manage to create some unique ideas in the way the Tramp tries to play golf where he would anger a couple of golfers in the process. Much of it would involve Chaplin creating some scenes where he would create gags that would effective in the story along with a scene at a masquerade ball where the rich man is unable to take off his knight helmet. Through his fluid yet straightforward approach to editing as well as his exuberant music score that ranges from playful to more rhythmic-based music for the masquerade ball scene. Chaplin would maintain that sense of entertainment as well as some amazing trickery in the way he would play both the Tramp and the rich husband in one notable scene. Overall, Chaplin creates a very lively and fun film about the Tramp’s misadventures in a posh world.

Cinematographer Roland Totheroh does excellent work with the black-and-white photography from the look of the golf course including some of the trick photography to feature the Tramp and the rich husband in one notable sequence. Production designer Charles D. Hall does fantastic work with the look of the hotel and the masquerade ball as well as one notable set at the golf course for a creative gag.

The film’s cast includes notable small roles from Henry Bergman in a dual role as a homeless man and a man pretending to be a cop, John Rand as a golfer who would have an unfortunate encounter with the Tramp and the rich man’s father-in-law, and Mack Swain as the rich man’s father-in-law who would have one bad day. Edna Purviance is wonderful as the rich man’s wife who feels neglected by her husband and troubled by his alcoholism until her encounter with the Tramp makes her feel happy unaware that he’s not her husband. Finally, there’s Charles Chaplin in the dual role as the Tramp and as the rich husband as he brings that great sense of pantomime physicality to his humor as well as a mischievousness to the role of the Tramp in how he reacts to certain situations as it‘s one of Chaplin‘s finest performances.

The Idle Class is a remarkable film from Charles Chaplin as it makes fun of the world of the rich while showcasing some of the fun they have. The film isn’t just one of Chaplin’s quintessential shorts but also a key moment into his work as a director as he would create moments that would be considered innovative. In the end, The Idle Class is a fantastic film from Charles Chaplin.

Charles Chaplin Films: (Twenty Minutes of Love) - (Caught in the Rain) - (A Busy Day) - (Her Friend the Bandit) - (Mabel’s Married Life) - (Laughing Gas) - (The Face On the Bar Room Floor) - (Recreation) - (The Masquerader) - (His New Profession) - The Rounders - (The Property Man) - (The New Janitor) - (Those Love Pangs) - (Dough & Dynamite) - (Gentlemen of Nerve) - (His Musical Career) - (His Trysting Place) - (Getting Acquainted) - (His Prehistoric Past) - (His New Job) - (A Night Out) - (The Champion) - (In the Park) - (A Jitney Elopement) - (The Tramp) - (By the Sea (1915 film)) - (His Regeneration) - (Work (1915 film) - (A Woman) - (The Bank) - (Shanghaied) - (A Night in the Snow) - (Burlesque on Carmen) - (Police (1916 film)) - (Triple Trouble) - (The Floorwalker) - (The Fireman) - (The Vagabond) - (One A.M. (1916 film)) - (The Count) - (The Pawnshop) - (Behind the Screen) - (The Rink) - (Easy Street) - (The Cure (1917 film)) - (The Immigrant (1917 film)) - (The Adventurer) - A Dog's Life - (The Bond) - Shoulder Arms - Sunnyside - A Day's Pleasure - (The Professor) - The Kid - Pay Day - The Pilgrim - A Woman of Paris - The Gold Rush - The Circus - City Lights - Modern Times - The Great Dictator - Monsieur Verdoux - Limelight - A King in New York - (A Countess from Hong Kong)

© thevoid99 2014

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