Film: 8921

Feature Comedy | 1910 | Silent | B/W

Clip:

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Synopsis:

A classic silent comedy short starring Charlie Chaplin.

Opening title. Title: "A convict had escaped." Amongst bushes near a beach, a guard waves people on then runs on himself, carrying a gun. Two prison guards or police officers with guns run across the sand. The first guard keeps running. He arrives at the bottom of rocky cliffs by a beach, but fails to see the convict; he turns around, and looks around; then sits down, turning around again. His gun on his lap; Chaplin's head, covered in hat, emerges from the sand, directly at the gun's end. The guard sits looking the other way, and puts a cigarette in his mouth. The guard looks for the convict down the beach, and towards the camera. Chaplin's hands emerge from the sand; he looks right, to see the gun, and does a double take; fearfully, he quickly throws sand over himself.

The officer yawns, shuts his eyes, and his head droops as he starts to fall asleep. Chaplin, in black and white striped convict's uniform, pushes himself out of the sand; when he gets up, sand falls into the hole he was in, and the officer falls over backwards; he looks at the camera in surprise; during this, Chaplin runs out of the left side of the frame. He runs rapidly up a track beneath a hill. The officer picks up his gun, and shoots at Chaplin. Chaplin runs in panic up the hill. He clambers over the top, gets on his knees, and turns around. The guard runs up the track, and fires his gun up the hill. Chaplin ducks backwards, then finds a rock, throws it down, looks down at its effect, and claps. We see its effect: the guard runs towards the hill, and tumbles over backwards.

Chaplin claps his hands and his feet together, pulls himself forwards to see over, and picks up another rock; at the same time, a different guard walks up behind him, and stands over him. Chaplin throws the rock over the side, leans forward to see what happens, and then grins at the camera; he starts to get up, but, when the guard steps on his hand, he moves his hand free, looks at the shoe, and moves to run away. Chaplin gets onto his knees; when the guard moves around to stand in front of him while trying to catch him, Chaplin quickly ducks through his legs, as the guard dives forward, and starts to fall. He falls down the cliff, sliding in a path onto the other guard. Chaplin gets up and runs off to the right of the screen.

The two guards get up, look up the cliff to try to find Chaplin, and run to the right. Chaplin runs frantically towards the camera. The two guards do the same; Chaplin runs down a path from the right, ending up directly in front of the guards; he immediately turns around and runs back up the path; the guards look at each other in surprise, and follow after him. Chaplin runs up the path, followed by the guards. He ends up at the edge of a hill; he keeps running, then just stops himself from going over the edge. The guards run up the path; the second one trips over. Chaplin raises his arms in triumph, just as the other guard stands behind him; when the officer shoots his gun, Chaplin falls over on his face, as if shot; the officer runs over to him, bends down to touch Chaplin's head with his hands, and rests a foot on his back; when he gets up, Chaplin kicks his foot up, and pushes the guard flying over the hill. The guard falls down the hill, gets up, and runs off, to get back up the hill a different way.

Two officers run up the hill, and, not finding Chaplin, look down; Chaplin runs out of his hiding place, towards the camera; the two guards turn around, and, spotting him, almost fall backwards in shock, then frantically run after him. The first officer runs up a road, Chaplin runs down a path from the right, meets the guard, runs back up the path; he ducks down, and, when the guard runs straight over him, turns around; he lies down, and the guard trips over him; he runs away. The other two officers run down the path. They run straight into the other guard, and all three fall over. Chaplin runs off onto some rocks, and watches. The three guards argue about which way to go, and run that way. Chaplin dashes through a hole in the rocks.

He ends up crawling out by a road, on which an officer stands guard. The three guards run towards the hole. Chaplin crawls out to find an officer walking towards him; he ducks back in. He crawls back to the other side, only to emerge under the legs of the moustached guard, before quickly ducking back in; the guard looks in the hole in confusion. Chaplin emerges the other side. Standing behind an officer, he puts a hand on his gun, before suddenly seizing the man. He turns him around, points the gun at the other officer, and takes the gun for himself. He moves backwards, to the edge of the sea, before tripping over a rock, and accidentally firing the gun. A guard ducks. The moustached guard jumps in pain. Chaplin gets up, and runs out to sea, around a large rock. Four guards rush after him. They fire their guns. Chaplin swims away. They keep firing. He dives underwater. Two guards run back from the beach. Chaplin dives again. The guards drag a boat to the water. Chaplin. They run out with the boat, but are knocked backwards by a tall wave.

Title: "A morning dip". Chaplin swims by a rowing boat; the man inside is struggling to put on or take off a sweater or jumper; Chaplin dives into the water. Title: "Her brave admirer". At a table at a restaurant on the sea front, a large man with a beard - the suitor - flexes his arm muscles, and the girl he sits with - Edna Purviance gasps in amazement. A woman in the water waves her arms about, drowning and screams for help. The two people at the restaurant react in horror. The woman frantically tries to stay afloat. Edna and suitor get up from their table and walk over to her. Edna runs to the end, and looks over. Title: "My Mother! Please save her!!"

The man looks over the side. The mother is still crying for help. The suitor steps back mock-heroically, then throws his cane away, and takes off his hat and jacket. The mother is still crying for help. The suitor waves his tie over the side. Edna begs him to jump in, but he refuses. The mother. Her daughter looks over the side, and then climbs through a fence, while the suitor shouts for help. From the other side, we see that they are a long way above the water; Edna climbs through the fence, and dives in to the water. She swims about. The suitor shouts for help, and leans against the fence; a fat man with a pipe leans against the fence, which collapses, and they start to fall. They fall into the water.

Chaplin arrives at some rocks. The suitor and the mother swim about and shout for help. The fat man floats on his back and smokes his pipe. Edna cries for help. Chaplin puts one hand to his ear, as if listening, and another to his forehead, as if looking. She shouts again. He listens some more, and then jumps into the water, and swims off. He swims to the mother, who is shouting, and starts to rescue her. Edna shouts. Chaplin turns his head to the right, interested. Edna shouts. While the mother is screaming, he lets go of her, and she suddenly goes under the water; Chaplin swims away. He swims off to Edna, and pulls her to safety. The suitor panics, and splashes his arms about. Edna and Chaplin clamber onto the bridge. The mother shouts. Edna pleads with Chaplin to save her mother. He swims away and drags her to safety. The suitor splashes about, and goes underwater; Chaplin keeps swimming in a circle around him, wondering what to do, before finally holding onto his beard.

They both clamber onto the pier; Chaplin checks on the women, before checking on the man. Chaplin pours out a drink to offer to the mother; to the right, the suitor falls backwards, so Chaplin props him on his knee; Chaplin pours some drink, drinks it himself, and lets the suitor lie down again. He pours some drink for the mother; two men carry a stretcher, put it down, put the mother onto it, and walk away; when the daughter wants to follow, Chaplin goes with her. The mother is carried over to a car, and put down; one of the men gives Chaplin a pillow. He props the stretcher up under it, and lifts the mother up; he exaggeratedly makes sure that she is okay, tapping her hand, reassuring her, pinching her cheek, while she looks on confused. Title: "I heard your cries from my yacht". The mother looks confused; Chaplin and the daughter stand her up.

They help her get into the car; Chaplin, standing on the stretcher, points out the suitor, and he and the car driver try to pick up the stretcher; Chaplin then realises he is standing on it, gets off, and they pick it up and run over. They put it down by the suitor, and lift him onto it; Chaplin tells the driver to go to the car, and then picks up his end of the stretcher, forgetting that no one is holding the other end; the man slides into the water. We see the splash he makes. Chaplin carries the stretcher over to the car, turns around, and is surprised to find no one on it; he lifts it up to look under it, then scratches his head; he then realises, and runs over to get him. He looks down, and, at the thought of jumping, panics. He jumps into the water.

He drags the suitor over to a ladder, and gets him to climb up, following behind;the suitor kicks Chaplin into the water. When the suitor gets to the top, he shakes his fist at Chaplin, and storms off. He walks to the car, shoves the driver out of the way, and gets in. Edna asks the driver to check on Chaplin. He walks over to look over the side. Chaplin lies in the water. The driver runs back to Edna, to tell her what has happened, before going to get Chaplin. Chaplin lies in the water. The driver goes down to the beach. He runs into the water, and drags Chaplin to shore. He picks him up, and carries him to the shore. He puts him in the car; Edna gets in, and the driver gets in and drives away.

Title: "A tired guest". Chaplin lies on a bed; he wakes up, stretches, and pulls off the covers; reaching behind, he feels bars on his bed; he checks his watch, only to find he isn't wearing one; he sees the black and white striped clothes he wears. A man in a formal suit walks in, bringing clothes; on the way out, he bows to Chaplin, who bows back. Title: "Dressed in somebody's best". Chaplin, in a suit and bow tie, walks down some stairs, past a piano. The butler appears, carrying two bottles on a tray; Chaplin sniffs the bottle, waves the butler past, picks up a bottle and glass, hands the glass to the butler, picks up the other bottle, sprays its contents into the first, puts it back, drops ash from his cigar into the glass, and, carrying off the first bottle, drinks from it. Edna and suitor see him. Edna greets him; Chaplin rapidly conceals the bottle behind his back, but turns it upside down; he bows, then notices the bottle, turns it the right way up, and puts it on a tray.

Chaplin introduces himself to some women, then turns to speak to Edna, then the suitor; the suitor turns away, and, in return, so does Chaplin; holding a cigar in his hand, and his hands behind his back, Chaplin's cigar touches the man's hands, and the man turns around to rebuke him; while Chaplin talks to Edna, the suitor kicks his leg behind at Chaplin, who does the same back; the suitor kicks him twice; Chaplin kicks back once; a woman walks between Chaplin and the suitor, so, when the suitor kicks backwards, he kicks that woman, who turns around in shock; when the man turns around, he does a double take; the woman he kicks moves away; Chaplin and Edna leave, bowing to the other woman; the suitor bows, and, when he gets up from the bow, she jumps away in shock.

Chaplin and Edna walk into another room. Everyone walks away from the suitor. Edna plays piano, while another woman waves a fan. The man puts his hands to his head in annoyance. Chaplin smokes a cigar and leans on the piano, while Edna plays. The suitor kicks him through the door. Chaplin reacts, leans backwards to kick the man, and is kicked again. In a rage, the suitor kicks Chaplin particularly hard. Chaplin reacts, then picks up a bottle, and sprays water at the suitor. The suitor sits down and dries himself. Chaplin opens the piano, and flicks cigar ash inside. The suitor reads the paper, and suddenly reacts with interest. He sees a story with the headline "Criminal Escapes - Convict At Large", and a picture of Chaplin with shaved head. The suitor looks at Chaplin. Chaplin is smoking. The suitor stares angrily at the camera.

Edna's father walks down the steps. Title: "My father is Judge Brown". The father shakes Chaplin's hand, and then stares at him. Title: "Your face is familiar. Commodore". The judge thinks he recognises him; Chaplin convinces him that he doesn't, and then sighs in relief. The suitor storms in. He finds Chaplin talking to the father; when Chaplin walks to go outside, the suitor grabs him by the hair, and turns him around, threatening him; Chaplin continues outside. He walks out and rubs his forehead nervously; he looks at the newspaper. The same newspaper story. Chaplin hurriedly gets out a pen, and starts to draw on the picture. The suitor tells the father about the story. Chaplin keeps drawing. The father walks outside. Chaplin makes to go inside, but the suitor turns him around by the shoulder; he shows him the article, and does a double take. The picture now has the suitor's long beard drawn on it. The father looks at the article, and is surprised. Title: "You need a shave". The mother walks in to fetch Chaplin, and they walk inside, arm in arm; as they go, Chaplin kicks the suitor.

Inside, Chaplin tries to take a drink from the tray that the servant carries, but fails; when the servant goes to the other side of the room, Chaplin and the mother switch sides, and Chaplin surreptitiously takes a drink, then puts it back; when the servant turns to him, he takes another drink; he then carries on conversation with the mother, and other people in the room; having finished his drink, he moves his hand to touch that of another man, exchanging that man's full glass for his empty one; that man bows, and, trying to have a drink, discovers that his glass is empty.

Title: "The prison guard is also being entertained". The guard and a cook drinking wine. Back at the party, everyone but Chaplin goes upstairs; Chaplin pours all the drink that has been left over, into one glass, and drinks it; Edna walks to find him, and persuades him to walk with her. The guard and the cook; when Chaplin and Edna walk in, the cook hides the guard in a cupboard, and hurriedly starts dusting the table; Chaplin jokes about there being a man in the cupboard, opens it, discovers the guard, and runs away. He runs out of the house. The guard runs out of the cupboard, and goes through a hole in the wall. Chaplin runs back inside. He runs to where the guard is, ducks back out of the door, and the guard, not seeing him, goes the other way. The servant comes into the room where Chaplin is; when he pops the cork of a bottle, Chaplin turns around and puts his hands up, and then, seeing that it's the servant, pretends he was just going to run his hands through his hair; he turns around, and, about to go up the stairs, kicks the waiter; Edna comes down the stairs.

Upstairs, everyone dances. Chaplin and Edna walk up the stairs. Upstairs, they try to get past a dancing couple, who keep moving from left to right; Chaplin and Edna keep trying to get around them, but end up moving exactly as they do, until Edna eventually gets past, and a little later, so does Chaplin; they sit down. Chaplin looks at the dancing couple. They dance in the doorway. Chaplin looks at them. They keep dancing. Chaplin fiddles nervously. Edna looks on. Chaplin pretends that nothing is wrong.

The moustached prison guard answers a phone call, prisoners in black and white striped uniforms in the background. The suitor on the other end tells him about Chaplin. The guard replies with surprise and immediate interest. The suitor keeps telling him. The guard puts the phone down and rushes out. Chaplin and the woman are now amongst those dancing; Chaplin gets very nervous, and he keeps twitching; he and Edna walk outside, and Chaplin wipes his brow in relief.

They sit at a table on a balcony. The waiter walks in, and brings each of them some ice cream; Chaplin gets something from his pocket. Downstairs, the suitor, father and mother are at a table; the suitor accidentally touches the mother with the spoon he eats the ice cream with. Chaplin bites into the food, and finds it uncomfortably cold. Edna eats it with a spoon. Chaplin is still uncomfortable. The woman continues to eat. Chaplin picks up a spoon. Edna keeps eating. Chaplin picks up all the ice cream in the bowl, with the spoon, sips from what is left, and drops the ice cream onto his shirt; he gets a handkerchief, and wipes himself. Edna talks to him. Chaplin gestures uncomfortably. Edna continues to eat. Chaplin gets up, and tries to make it look like nothing is happening. He pushes the ice cream through the rails of the balcony. It lands on the mother's shirt.

She gets up; it drips down her back; she makes expressions of discomfort. The suitor and father try to calm her; assuming that the suitor dropped it there, she slaps him; the suitor tries to get it out, and the father his him. Edna looks down, and Chaplin feigns innocence. The mother sits down, still in shock. The dancing couple from earlier laugh. The father runs after them. He storms past Chaplin and Edna, who are sitting down on benches; the father is thrown out of the room, and comes flying backwards on the floor.

Prison guards arrive outside; the suitor tells them where Chaplin is. They walk downstairs, by the piano; as Chaplin sees the guards, he runs back up, then jumps over the balcony; the guards run up the stairs; he runs back outside. He runs into a guard, and both he and the guard react in shock; he runs back inside, pursued. He runs up the stairs, pursued by the guard, and by women. The suitor and the guards run upstairs, into the dance room, and start to go in different reactions. Chaplin runs downstairs, and says goodbye to Edna. From outside, he kisses her goodbye; the moustached guard jumps down behind him, and he runs back the other way. He runs up the stairs, pursued.

In the dance room, everyone but one guard runs to the left; Chaplin runs up, kicks that guard, and runs onto the balcony. He goes to jump down. The moustached guard runs outside downstairs; Chaplin jumps behind him, and runs indoors. He puts a lampshade over his head; the guard runs straight past him upstairs; the suitor walks in, and berates Edna; Chaplin takes the lampshade off his head, kicks the suitor, puts the lampshade on the suitor's head, and hits him so he falls over; he kisses Edna goodbye, puts the lampshade on his head, and runs outside. As he takes the lampshade off his head, the moustached guard jumps down, and Chaplin rushes back inside. He steps over the suitor, and runs upstairs; the guard trips over the suitor, gets up, and keeps going.

Chaplin ducks behind a sliding door, and slides it to the right, blocking the guard; the guard creeps in from the left, so Chaplin pushes the door left, jumps out, and pushes the door right, blocking the guard; there is then an elaborate sequence where Chaplin pushes the door repeatedly from left to right, each time exactly as the guard moves the same way; the door gets pushed into the middle, and the guard keeps pushing it slightly left and slightly right, until, as he finally looks around to the left, Chaplin comes around from the right, and pushes the door on him; Chaplin shuts the other door; the suitor tries to open it, and puts his head between the two doors, so Chaplin shuts him between. Chaplin strives to keep the doors as they are; he takes handcuffs from the guard's pocket, and puts them on the door handles. He kicks the guard out, and the doors slide the other way; he slides them into the centre, and then runs out to the balcony. He jumps over the balcony. Edna and the moustached guard below. (Incomplete).


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