Feature Comedy | 1910 | Silent | B/W
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Charlie Chaplin stars as a baker's assistant in one of his early slapstick comedies 1910's
Intertitle: 'Old songs grow sweeter with the years / Old wines improve with age, / And Shakespeare with his smiles and tears / Still dominates the stage, / Old masterpieces of the screen / Will stand the test of time, / When walks the master on the scene / The King of Pantomine.'
A well-dressed young lady chooses from a display case in a bakery marked 'Assorted French Tarts'; Chaplin as the baker's assistant carrying a tea towel, approaches her, slightly flustered (?), and lingers as she takes her time, not noticing him.
Intertitle: 'A baker's assistant who thought Pillsbury wrote the slogan "Say it with Flour".'
Chaplin hurries round to the other side of the coutner, leans over 'casually'.
'Sorry I'm late - I've been watching a "Sweet Cookie" with a "Bun" on.'
The lady is not impressed; Chaplin puts his hand in a platter of sticky dough and sheepishly pulls it off while the lady rolls her eyes; he places his hand on his cheek and hurriedly wipes it too with a tea towel; the lady turns and sashays over to another shelf/counter, the back of her swaying hips to the camera as Chaplin watches intently.
'All those in favour of this motion say aye.'
Chaplin watches, also starts swivelling his hips, backside to the camera, as the lady bends over, looking in display cases; she totters back up to the French tart counter, talks to Chaplin who panders to her; he takes the platter of sticky dough and accidentally flicks some off it. Two pieces of dough fly across the room in a perfect arc, hit a gentleman sitting a table in the tearoom squarely in the eye; Chaplin fusses next to him, not quite apologetically, as his wife giggles at the table.
'You've got the wrong pastry, sir.'
The wife giggles as Chaplin carefully peels the sticky mess from over the gentleman's eye and flings it behind him, such that it hits a plate of cake on the table of another gentleman, sending it crashing; the gentleman gets up in a huff, grabs his boater hat from the sack, gives Chaplin, who's bending over to pick up the dough, a sharp kick in the backside; Chaplin staggers up, thinking it was the first gentleman, who is now grumbling animatedly, and clouts him on the temple; the gentleman rises heatedly as his wife starts giggling again, tussles with Chaplin and shoves him onto the chair, then stomps out in a righteous rage.
The portly French owner at the counter and his beautiful wife are shocked when the gentleman, still sporting a dough-ey eyepatch, strides past them angrily:
'You'll hear from my attorneys, "Null and Void".'
The baker turns and shouts at Chaplin, who puts his elbow in the sticky dough again before bolting up and clearing the plates on the table; he hurries off - and trips. Chaplin flies into the backroom with sacks of flour, a counter and sink, and crashes into the manager (?) as a large woman in an apron at the sink throws up her arms and screams; the manager rises with a plate of dough/custard on his head, yells at Chaplin, who in the confusion kicks over a bucket of milk; a fracas erupts in which Chaplin punches them both and smashes the plate over the man's head.
'Charge that to overhead.'
The man topples over comically.
'If you ain't the cat's fallen arches.'
Chaplin throws a spoonful of liquid into the woman's eye, turns to stomp out, gets kicked in the bottom by the man, and returns with two high kicks to the face.
'A "sole" kiss.'
Chaplin walks out into the tearoom.
'Discontented bakers who "Kneaded More Dough".'
Two bakers downstairs, working at troughs, trays, sacks, counters. The manager storms into the tearoom, holding a large round tray, as Chaplin opens a trapdoor in the floor and steps in.
'I'll punch your nose around so far you can sneeze in your own ear.'
Chaplin climbs down nonchalantly as the manager continues shouting.
'You couldn't punch a time clock.'
Chaplin drops downstairs, landing on the shorter baker.
'Why don't you put skid chains on those "Heavy Treads" -- you flat footed "Bum".'
The baker clouts Chaplin, sending him spinning into a counter with sticky dough on it; his hands plunge into the mixture and he struggles to get free; the short baker takes a tray of pastries upstairs while the tall baker ribs Chaplin:
'Say -- If dirt was trumps -- you'd have a great hand.'
Chaplin struggles with the sticky elastic threads of dough, now also on his trousers.
'Keep those finger prints for the Rogues gallery.'
Chaplin pulls himself free and wipes the excess dough on the curtains next to him; the tall baker continues transporting handfuls of sticky dough from the trough to the counter. Chaplin lingers around the oven, dough-spattered, while three other bakers watch him; he opens one door and leaps backwards with a yelp, clutching his hand; he also scorches his other hand and foot closing the door; the bakers tell him to leave.
'Go home before I dig you a home.'
Chaplin, on his way out, steps in a lump of sticky dough and gets his shoe caught.
'Putting "Marks on his Hart and Schaffner."'
Chaplin extracts his foot, wipes his sole on the backside of the tall baker, bending over the trough.
'Mind where you wipe those "Sears Roebucks"'.
Chaplin climbs back up to the tearoom, wanders over to a table where two pretty young waitresses sit.
'A waitress who thought "Salami" was an oriental dancer.'
Chaplin sidles up to them and tries to get friendly with the waitress, leaning on her and touching her hair; he then takes what's probably snuff in a handkerchief from the table and wanders off. He walks into the backroom holding the handkerchief to his face and hides it behind his back quickly when he sees the manager and the large lady standing there; the manager remonstrates…
'Why don't you take a pinch of snuff and blow out your brains.'
Finally the manager tells Chaplin to go do the washing up while he dries; Chaplin rinses the crockery quickly and hands them to thin air; they shatter on the floor, infuriating the manager:
'Say -- you've broken half the dishes.'
Chaplin is defensive and prods the manager.
'Well gimme time -- Those dishes ain't what they're cracked up to be.'
They exchange blows, and Chaplin returns to the washing up.
Outside, the French owner takes the manager aside:
'De bakers haf gone on strike - You vill haf to take de loafers place.'
He hands the stunned manager an apron.
'No -- They'll kill me.'
The French owner is insistent:
'Don’t vorry, I'll pay de funeral expenses.'
The manager seems taken in by this. He paces, scratches his head, goes downstairs through the trapdoor. He hangs his coat up in the empty bakery downstairs, puts on a baker's hat, unfolds the apron.
Upstairs, Chaplin creases under the weight of a huge sack the woman puts on his back, knocking plates over as he staggers along.
'My name is Simpson, not Samson.'
He staggers, bent double, into the tearoom and topples onto a well-dressed woman at the table before getting up again.
'Sorry, I thought you were my wife.'
The manager in his baker's outfit downstairs. Chaplin hefts the sack down into the hole:
The sack of flour lands on top of the manager; Chaplin steps over the sack (and the man trapped beneath) and enters. Chaplin wanders over to the now empty row of ovens, takes off his jacket, dons a baker's hat, pulls an apron from his trousers, leans over and scorches his hand on the oven. He walks across to the dough counter, past the manager under the sack, starts shovelling dough from the floor, into the trough.
'Dishing the dirt.'
Chaplin gives up trying to shovel the sticky dough and sits down on the sack; he notices the man.
'Uneasy wears the face that wears a frown.'
Chaplin helps the manager uot and onto his feet; the latter rages
'If your head was the size of your brain you could wear a peanut shell for a panama.'
The bunch of bakers, now in coats and hats, carry a box of dynamite down a small passageway, quibbling among themselves.
'Strikers -- like fruit, work after they are "canned".'
They pull a stick of dynamite out.
'A stick of Russian candy.'
They mime the explosion, throwing their hands in the air.
'Nothing can escape, not even the gas.'
Chaplin enters the room, balancing a tray of loaves on his head, strutting and doing fancy about-turns as the French owner watches in trepidation; as Chaplin bends over to retrieve a fallen loaf, the tray and its contents spill on the floor; the owner hops in fury; Chaplin starts tossing loaves to him from the floor.
'Give us this day our daily'
The furious owner hurls a loaf into Chaplin's face which crumbles on impact. Chaplin seems to find all this amusing. Downstairs, the manager calls for Chaplin/some help. Chaplin, upstairs and gazing absently at two ladies in the tearoom, absently drops his tray through the trapdoor. It hits the manager. Chaplin heads downstairs. The manager drags him down by the foot. Upstairs, the ladies giggle at the sight of Chaplin's head poking out of the trapdoor. When Chaplin steps downstairs, the two men trade blows with sticky dough.
'Dirty work on the cross roads.'
One of the striking bakers, in everyday clothes (jacket and trousers), walks into the bakery and buys a loaf of bread from the lady.
'Bakers, like Brokers, often make money by "Selling short".'
Downstairs, Chaplin's attempts to take bread out of the oven result in the manager being hit repeatedly with the end of the long shovel he uses for it. Frustrated, the manager hurls a ball of dough at Chaplin, who ducks and lets it fly into the oven. Chaplin scorches his hands. The two pretty waitresses come down via the ladder, and approach the manager.
'What have you got in the shape of doughnuts?'
'Funeral wreaths and life-preservers.'
Chaplin puts on his baker's hat, marches in to interrupt the giggly proceedings. He tells the manager:
'Clean out the oven it's "Ash Wednesday".'
The manager obeys and hurries off; Chaplin turns to the laughing girls.
'He suffers from constitutional inertia.'
The girls jump onto the counter and sit in the flour without realising, Chaplin giggles/sniggers into his hand.
Meanwhile the striking bakers bore a hole lengthwise through the loaf of bread, preparing to stick the dynamite in.
The manager keeps working at the ovens.
'From Labor there shall come forth Rest' - Longfellow'
The bakers put the stick of dynamite into the loaf. They rush out, furtively.
Chaplin flirts shamelessly with the two girls downstairs.
'Everyday I get Better and Better but every night I get Worse.'
Chaplin realises his hands have got stuck in the lump of dough he's been playing with and sheepishly extracts them. The manager goes upstairs and out onto the yard to empty the garbage. Behind the fence, the striking bakers lurk and prepare to club him with sticks. Their heads pop over the fence as the manager empties the sack of flour into the trash can.
'A sure cure for Dandruff.'
They hit the manager over the head with sticks and pop back behind the fence; the manager rises, staggers, looks over the fence and flees. He skitters back inside and downstairs, where Chaplin and the waitresses are, and tells Chaplin:
'They want a good head for the "Baker's Club".'
Chaplin goes out unsuspectingly, gets told by the fat woman to take a bucket out on the way. The bakers wait outside, behind the fence. They pop up and hit Chaplin as he bends over, shaking out the sack of flour left outside; he collapses in a puff of flour, his dark hair now mottled white. He staggers back inside, slipping and falling in the tearoom, and through the trapdoor. He approaches the manager, kicks him in the back, decks him with a large lump of dough. They fight viciously as the waitresses clamber upstairs.
The French owner notices the flour patch on the back of the black skirt of the waitress. The fight continues downstairs.
Behind the fence, a striking baker instructs a young girl clutching a loaf of bread. She walks into the bakery, tells the owner's wife at the counter:
'Father ordered Bread not Bricks.'
The lady takes the loaf, gives her her money back. She examines the loaf, finding it unusually heavy; she shows it to her husband who holds it and agrees.
'You better "instruct" the bakers about it.'
Another waitress sashays up to the counter and back into the tearoom; again, the French owner notices her flour-stained bottom.
'Figures don't lie.'
The baker points downstairs, suspecting something. The lady, holding the booby-trapped loaf, stands next to Chaplin, watching as he rolls doughnuts by shaping them as bangles around his wrist; she complains about the weight of the bread; Chaplin takes it and weighs it:
'Give it to the gentleman behind the moustache.'
She takes it to the manager by the ovens. He hands it back to Chaplin, who shoves it in the oven.
'I'm through with baking after this.'
Chaplin talks to the lady, toying with a sticky thread of dough.
'I baked bread before you were born.'
'Then that must be the loaf.'
She goes upstairs in a huff; Chaplin reaches for her helplessly, touching her back and backside with his floury hands. As she goes round tables in the tearoom taking orders, her husband notices the hand prints on her dress.
'Even my wife has spots on her reputation.'
He corners his wife and interrogates her, pointing to the marks; goes downstairs raging.
Downstairs the owner assaults the hapless Chaplin, who, after trying to explain, sends him flying with a kick. He crashes into the manager, who is carrying a tray of loaves; an altercation ensues. Chaplin hurls a ball of dough at the rampaging French owner, who chases him upstairs. Complete chaos in the tea room and back room as a young gentleman customer and the fat woman join in the punching, chasing, shouting. The fray spills downstairs as giant sacks of flour are hurled around.
A huge explosion inside the oven, sending bricks and much of the kitchen flying, effectively stopping the fight.
The striking bakers, sitting in a nearby passageway with the box of dynamite, feel the room shake before the box blows up. The manager and owner, trapped beneath a pile of bricks, covered in blood (?) and dough, shout for help before fainting. The outline of a head under a blanket of sticky dough; slowly Chaplin's face emerges from the mess.
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