The Idle Class () - Rotten Tomatoes
This week's movie: “The Idle Class” (). I think it is about time for a Chaplin film, especially a film featuring one of the most iconic characters. Not Rated; Studio: Image Entertainment; DVD Release Date: January 1, . The Little Tramp's final shorts, "The Idle Class" () and "Pay Day" (), are. A tramp sneaks into a upper class golf resort. Charles Chaplin in The Idle Class () Charles Chaplin and Edna Purviance in The Idle . Release Date.
The scene appears to have been shot on the sets of The Kid during a break in production. Perhaps at the same time Chaplin was trying to escape the guise of the Tramp altogether. He had explored and developed the character through his work at four studios—Keystone, Essanay, Mutual, and First National—and at each studio, the Tramp was slightly different.
As Chaplin became a better filmmaker, with more control over his productions and greater command of his storytelling and filmmaking skills, so the character of the Tramp grew. Chaplin tried him out in a variety of circumstances, careers, and roles. Now, in depicting the character as an escaped convict, was he not simply escaping First National but also the trap that he was beginning to see the Tramp character as. Now he was ready for full-length feature films, although his choice for his debut would be somewhat uncharacteristic… The Critics: He has aimed at something in his new work and he has hit it.
The full story is too involved to adequately cover here, but the brief presence of Marion Davies in The Pilgrim opens up the entire Chaplin-Hearst-Ince story. Davies was the mistress of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, and through the s he attempted to establish a movie career for her, going so far as to finance a mini-studio devoted to her often-unsuccessful films. It was an event that would end in a fatality.Charlie Chaplin - Shaken, Not Stirred - The Idle Class (1921)
Also among the guests was Western director and another mini-studio mogul of the time Thomas H. He, at the age of just 43, would be dead by the end of the cruise. Here fact and fiction get confused—was he shot, as early Hearst newspapers reported, or did he die of a heart attack?
The Idle Class original Charlie Chaplin Lobby Card
If he was shot, who did it? Chaplin biographer Joyce Milton suggested that the culprit was Chaplin, who accidentally shot Ince while toying with a revolver that he was thinking of using on himself. Chuck was friends with Chaplin and Buster Keaton, and young Dean regarded both comedians as honorary uncles, making it hard for him to hit Chaplin as required by the scene.
Rieser switched roles, taking up an alternative career as a screenwriter inand a lot of TV writing mainly on Western series would keep him busy right through to the s. Rieser died inwhile Nurmi died in They were inconsiderate, unsympathetic, and short-sighted, and I wanted to be rid of them. Moreover, ideas for feature films were nagging at me.
Completing the last three pictures seemed an insurmountable task. I worked on Pay Day, a two-reeler, then I had only two more films to go. The Pilgrim, my next comedy, took on the proportions of a feature-length film. This again meant more irksome negotiations with First National. The negotiations terminated satisfactorily. It presents Chaplin in a simple tale that wants only to be funny. And boy does it succeed. It certainly ranks among Chaplin's funniest films.
It begins with the arrival of a train to a summer golf resort. First we see all the swells getting off the train in their fancy clothes, the men carrying golf clubs.
Then the Little Tramp emerges from the luggage compartment below the train. He steps out, stretches his arms and then reaches back inside the train for his own ratty looking set of clubs. The Little Tramp is on vacation.
The Idle Class - Wikipedia
The first half of the story takes place on the golf course, the second half occurs that evening at a costume party. The only real plot element is the fact that Chaplin plays two roles. In addition to the Little Tramp he also plays a rich drunk who just happens to look exactly like the Little Tramp. Chaplin gets around the technical difficulty of playing two characters by keeping them apart for most of the movie. In their only scene together the rich drunk is conveniently wearing a suit of armor that completely covers his face.
Obviously that's not Chaplin inside it. There are several hilarious bits including what I think was his single most sublimely brilliant sight gag ever.
The rich drunk gets a note from his wife the reliable Edna Purviance telling him that until he stops drinking she will be occupying separate quarters.
The man is standing in front of a table with a photograph of his wife on it. He picks up her picture and gazes forlornly at it. Then he turns his back to the camera and his shoulders begin to gently shake as if he's in tears. The shaking becomes more vigorous and just when you think this man is really falling apart, he turns around with a cocktail shaker in his hands! Another hilarious bit happens at the costume party, where the Little Tramp is mistaken for the rich drunk, dressed in the costume of a tramp.
His wife dressed as Marie Antoinette of course sees the Little Tramp but thinking he's her husband pats the seat next to where she is sitting. Intrigued, the Little Tramp sits down. The woman then tenderly takes the Little Tramp's hand in an affectionate gesture.
She thinks she's making up with her sot of a spouse while Charlie thinks he's getting lucky.
The Idle Class
The Little Tramp causes him much grief out on the links. In one bit Chaplin steals Swain's golf balls but makes Swain think another man took them. Swain jumps on the poor guy and starts beating the crap out of him while the Little Tramp scurries nonchalantly away.
If you want to look for a social message about class in America you can certainly find one here, but for the most part Chaplin is content to simply create laughs. The meager plot is in some ways a throwback to his earlier work.
Chaplin once said all he needed to make a picture was a girl, a policeman, and a park bench. The Idle Class is more sophisticated than that but it's still a very simple setup from which Chaplin mines comedy gold.