Sunday, November 8, 2015

The New Janitor

The New Janitor (1914)

Although still in 1914, this is Chaplin's 27th film for Keystone Studios, and the first where we see The Tramp as being the character we recognize as the classic character.  The first we see as a full-fledged character at all, sympathetic, clumsy, well-intentioned, at times pathetic, at times heroic.  Even so, the film is at times comedic and at times dramatic, with the action being played for laughs and thrills, sometimes at the same time. We can see the mixed emotions and sympathy for a sorry plight we will often find in Chaplin-directed films.

The Tramp gets a job as a janitor in a tall office building, which he finds himself completely incapable at.  While washing windows, he drops a bucket on the head of the owner, which gets him fired.  In another office, an important employee of the office is threatened with gambling debts, and he decides to take a desperate action.

This was a pleasure to watch, an almost perfect gem of a film, which could easily be remade into a longer film.  And it was, another longer Chaplin short, The Bank.  Jess Dandy played the boss well (reminding me of a later Lionel Barrymore).


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