Monday, June 4, 2012

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for Charlie Chaplin Days

Last weekend was Charlie Chaplin Days in Niles. He only worked here for about 3 months back in 1915, and made 5 short films here. But we still celebrate his impact nearly 100 years later. During the day, we showed all the films he made here in Niles, but I was working in the gift shop, giving tours, or helping out with the carnival games we set up outside. But at night, I was really there as an audience member to watch the movies.

GENTLEMEN OF NERVE (1914): Chaplin at Keystone, in his first year on film. Charlie and friends at the auto races. Especially Charlie and Mabel Normand, the great comedian who was sometimes known as the female Charlie Chaplin. Rather broad slapstick, but a lot of fun.

WORK (1915): This is Chaplin at Essanay, but after he worked in Niles and got permission to finish up his contract back in L.A. He's the put upon assistant to a handyman hired to fix up a house. The hi-jinks start with his struggle just to get there (Charlie is the "horse" pulling a cart with his boss and all their equipment) and just gets hi-jinksier (higher-jinks?) when they get there and start destroying the house. [Note: this review copied from my review of Chaplin Days in 2010, but still just as appropriate.]

Then after a brief intermission, we were ready for the main event.

THE KID (1921): It's a Chaplin film, but more importantly it's the film that made Jackie Coogan the first child star. And he's adorable as the orphan who ends up being raised by Chaplin's Tramp. They manage to stay one step ahead of the law (Jackie breaks windows while Chaplin makes a living repairing them) and one step ahead of child protective services. But the heart of the movie is how Jackie wants to stay with his adoptive Tramp father and how Chaplin will do anything to keep him. It's just simply one of the most adorable films I've ever seen.

Oh yeah, and then on Sunday I was back to work all day again, culminating in the Pie Fight of the Century hosted by the Midnight Patrol Tent of the Sons of the Desert (the Laurel and Hardy Film Appreciation Society.) That was tons of good, messy fun.

Total Running Time: 125 minutes
My Total Minutes: 286,981

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