Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Charlie Chaplin: Easy Street (1917)

Charlie Chaplin stars in Easy Street (1917), a short comedy film on how one man can change the fortunes of both himself and the neighborhood in which he resides. 

The short story of the Little Tramp, a staple of Chaplin's characterization of the times, mixes together  religion, drug addiction and its horrors, policing and the ultimate transformation of individuals and the neighbourhoods in which they reside when a bully is defeated. As Wikipedia writes:
As the story begins, the Little Tramp is sleeping rough outside a mission near the streets of a lawless slum. He is reformed somewhat at a Mission where there is singing and religious education. His religious awakening inspired by a beautiful young woman who pleads for him to stay at the Mission.
Spotting a help wanted ad for a job at the police station, Chaplin hesitantly accepts and is assigned the rough-and-tumble Easy Street as his beat. Upon entering the street, he finds a bully, roughing up the locals and pilfering their money. Chaplin gets on the wrong side of this bully and following a chase the two eventually come to blows, culminating in Chaplin inventively using a gas lamp, to render the bully unconscious. The film continues with Chaplin aiding the people of Easy Street, rescuing a damsel in distress from the clutches of a sinister drug addict and putting the bully in his place once and for all.
The story could be written today, except the story would probably end differently.