A Day’s Pleasure (1919)
” “A DAY’S PLEASURE”. You’ll say so! “
Director: Charles Chaplin
Cast: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, C. Allen
Synopsis: Father takes his family for a drive in their falling-apart Model T Ford, gets in trouble in traffic, and spends the day on an excursion boat.
By 1919, Charlie Chaplin was deep in preparation for his first feature, The Kid, but First National was impatient for some new product to place before an ever-hungry public. To keep them happy, Chaplin made a Day’s Pleasure in one week, and to be honest, it shows. The quality of his output for First National was variable at best, and this one has to be one of his worst shorts. It doesn’t feel like a Chaplin movie — he’s not playing the Little Tramp for a start — and most of the gags are no better than routine.
Chaplin is a family man in A Day’s Pleasure, with a long-suffering wife (Edna Purviance, who is given absolutely nothing to do) and a couple of kids, one of whom is an un-credited Jackie Coogan who would, of course, play the title character in The Kid. As the title suggests, they’re on a family day on the ferry. Chaplin has some uninspired engine trouble, however, before they finally reach the boat. His troubles aren’t over then, however, as he encounters a hulking brute who steals his seat, a particularly choppy sea, and a deckchair that refuse to behave. On the way home, the family then have trouble traversing a police-controlled traffic crossing.
A Day’s Pleasure is really little more than a series of vignettes, and it’s impossible to shake off the impression that what we’re watching here is just a compilation of poor quality routines that never made it into Chaplin’s earlier shorts. There is one astonishing moment in which a cop steps back from the running board of Chaplin’s car and straight through an open manhole, but other than that A Day’s Pleasure had very little to recommend.
(Reviewed 6th September 2014)