Monday, August 29, 2011

The Star Boarder (1914)

Chaplin is back in his usual makeup and costume here. With a more structured plot than we’ve seen in the Chaplin-Keystones up to this point, Chaplin and his flirtatious landlady are unknowingly caught in a private moment by a boy with a camera. When the photo turns up in a Magic Lantern show that the boy projects that night for the amusement of the other boarders, the landlady’s jealous husband is none too pleased. Less farce than situation comedy, this is a good example of how a more structured plot allowed for better character development and for getting more mileage out of the situations as opposed to the off-the-cuff, improvisational approach. Still, it can’t help feeling like a warm-up for better things to come.

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