The Tramp (1915)
Director: Charles Chaplin
Cast: Charles Chaplin, Billy Armstrong, Lloyd Bacon
Synopsis: The Little Fellow finds the girl of his dreams and work on a family farm.
Although this was not the first film to feature Charlie Chaplin’s iconic little tramp it is probably the one that crystallised the now instantly recognisable features of the role, from the odd side-footed walk and twirling cane to the dusty coat and outlandishly baggy trousers, and the iris-out ending shot of his unmistakable figure walking away from the camera. The tramp is also less spiteful and vicious towards others here — although he does give fellow-farmhand Paddy McGuire a pretty torrid time. In The Tramp he saves farmer’s daughter Edna Purviance from a gang of tramps out to steal her money, and is given a job by her grateful father on his farm. Although the film is by no means a classic it is superior to most of the movies Chaplin made at Essanay, and injects a hefty dose of pathos in its conclusion that was then new to the character but which will now be recognisable to all fans of his films.
(Reviewed 20th August 2005)