The Law of Contact

The Pawnshop (October 2, 1916)

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The Pawnshop with Charlie Chaplin
 

Released on October 2, 1916: A day in the life of a pawn shop worker who isn't exactly the perfect employee.

Produced by Charles Chaplin

Directed by Charles Chaplin

The Actors: Charlie Chaplin (the new employee), Henry Bergman (the pawnbroker), Edna Purviance (the pawnbroker's daughter), Eric Campbell (a thief), Albert Austin (a customer), Charlotte Mineau (a customer), James T. Kelley (an old actor), Frank J. Coleman (policeman), John Rand (pawnshop assistant), Wesley Ruggles (customer with ring)

 
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The King of Comedy . . . Without a Word

Comedy is an elusive art that is driven by words . . . even physical comedy needs to be set-up with an opening explanation so that we understand and appreciate the comedy action as it happens, but the best comics can produce laughter without a word. When motion pictures were young there was no sound, only pictures . . . and there were a couple of genius comedians who could design facial expressions and physical movement that told a story without the need for one word. In this funny skit there are a couple of text cards, but they are not needed . . . almost a hundred years after it was filmed you will understand what is happening just by watching. Even more amazing is that Charlie Chaplin tapped into basic human emotions and actions, so even if you do not speak English . . . even if you are not from an English speaking country you will understand the plot and the comedy . . . the interactions between the actors are universal, spanning any language or any society. You may think that it isn't a great feat, but just think a bit . . . if you watch a foreign film today that does not have English captions will you understand what is going on and enjoy the show? Probably not. If you turn down the sound as you watch any movie today will you still enjoy and understand the movie? Motion pictures today, even comedy movies, are driven by the spoken word, and without those words to explain, the sense of the story is gone. Pop a little bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter on it and enjoy a comedy that needs no words to make you smile.

Albert Austin
Albert Austin
Charlie Chaplin and Albert Austin
Charlie Chaplin and Albert Austin
Charlie Chaplin and Charlotte Mineau
Charlie Chaplin and Charlotte Mineau
Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance and John Rand
Charlie Chaplin, Edna Purviance and John Rand
Charlie Chaplin and Henry Bergman
Charlie Chaplin and Henry Bergman
Charles Chaplin and John Rand
Charles Chaplin and John Rand
Charles Chapline and Wesley Ruggles
Charles Chapline and Wesley Ruggles
Charles Chaplin wants to fight John Rand as the policeman watches
Charles Chaplin wants to fight John Rand as the policeman watches
Charles Chaplin is late for work
Charles Chaplin is late for work
Charlie Chaplin saves the day by knocking out the thief
Charlie Chaplin saves the day by knocking out the thief
Charlie Chaplin makes peace with John Rand
Charlie Chaplin makes peace with John Rand
Charlotte Mineau in the pawn shop
Charlotte Mineau in the pawn shop
Edna Purviance and Charlie Chaplin in the kitchen
Edna Purviance and Charlie Chaplin in the kitchen
Edna Puriance, Charlie Chaplin and John Rand
Edna Puriance, Charlie Chaplin and John Rand
Edna Purviance hears the fighting in the next room
Edna Purviance hears the fighting in the next room
Edna Purviance
Edna Purviance makes a pie
Eric Campbell and Henry Bergman
Eric Campbell and Henry Bergman
Eric Campbell robs the pawnshop
Eric Campbell robs the pawnshop
Eric Campbell
Eric Campbell
Frank J. Coleman
Frank J. Coleman
Henry Bergman, Charlie Chaplin and John Rand
Henry Bergman, Charlie Chaplin and John Rand
Henry Bergman tells Charlie Chaplin to get out, he is fired
Henry Bergman tells Charlie Chaplin to get out, he is fired
John Rand and Charles Chaplin stuck in the ladder
John Rand and Charles Chaplin stuck in the ladder
John Rand
John Rand
Wesley Ruggles tells Charlie Chaplin his sad story
Wesley Ruggles tells Charlie Chaplin his sad story