An evening of classic Charlie Chaplin shorts,
including some of his funniest films
In 1916, the Mutual Film Corporation built Charles Chaplin his own studio and he entered a fruitful twelve-month period which he acknowledged to be one of the most inventive and liberating of his career. Chaplin had full control over casting, scripting and directing, and the resulting movies are among his funniest works.
There may be no better example of Chaplin’s amazing comic virtuosity than this amazing solo short about a drunken homeowner who returns home after an all-night bender. Charlie just wants to go to bed but finds himself in conflict with almost every object in his house.
Featuring Chaplin at his most delightfully manic and energetic, The Fireman is virtually wall-to-wall slapstick. Charlie is an earnest but inept member of a ramshackle small town fire department. His boss (Eric Campbell) has entered into an unhanded deal with a wealthy man to burn down his house for the insurance and split the settlement. However, they don’t realize that the man’s beautiful daughter (Edna Purviance) is still in the house. It’s up to Charlie to ride to the rescue.
BEHIND THE SCREEN
In this wonderful look behind the scenes at the world of moviemaking, Chaplin pokes some less than gentle fun at his former employer Mack Sennett. Chaplin and Eric Campbell play a couple of overworked but bumbling stagethands at Gigantic Picture Studios. Pretty Edna Purviance sneaks into the studio disguised as a boy. Chaplin finds out her secret and steals a kiss — drawing a very suspicious glance from Campbell. The film ends wonderfully with a combination union strike and slapstick pie fight.
Growing up poor in rigidly class-bound England, Chaplin had a deep awareness of social stratification, and he seldom put that knowledge to better use than in this hilarious comedy. Charlie stars as a lowly tailor’s assistant who crashes a high society party in the guise of a wealthy Count, and attempts to romance Miss Moneybags (Edna Purviance).
Ben Model is one of the USA’s leading silent film accompanists, and has been playing piano and organ for silents at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for the past 27 years. Ben co-curated MoMA’s “Cruel and Unusual Comedy” series and Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle retrospective, and also curated Shout!Factory’s new “Ernie Kovacs Collection” DVD box set. A five-time recipient of the Meet The Composer grant, Ben is a regular accompanist at classic film festivals around the U.S.A. and in Norway, and performs at universities, museums, and historic theaters. Ben is the producer and co-founder of The Silent Clowns Film Series, now in its 14th season in NYC. Ben’s recorded scores can be heard on numerous DVD releases from Kino Video and others. Ben’s composed ensemble scores for films by Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd are performed around the U.S. every year by orchestras and by concert bands.