Between Showers (1914)    1 Stars


Between Showers (1914)
Between Showers (1914)

Director: Henry Lehrman

Cast: Charles Chaplin, Ford Sterling, Chester Conklin

Synopsis: Two men come to blows over which of them will help a young lady cross a puddle in the road.






Although Charlie Chaplin had devised the character of The Little Tramp when he made Between Showers, there were still a few finishing touches to be added (the cane, for example) and he was a secondary character in the plot, which opens with a thief named Mr Snookie (Ford Sterling – Alice in Wonderland), stealing an umbrella right out of the hands of a police officer (Chester Conklin – Making a Living) while he’s busy wooing a woman. Snookie then comes across a young lady (Velma Pierce – A Film Johnnie) who is struggling to cross the road because of a large puddle. While he’s off looking for a plank to breach the puddle, a tramp (Chaplin – Making a Living, The Rounders) also spies the woman and decides to help, thereby setting in motion a running battle between the two men which takes up the whole of the remainder of the film.

Between Showers is pretty crude stuff, but it’s important that the context in which it was made is taken into account when viewing. Keystone were churning out these short movies at a rate of four a week just to keep up with demand, which meant that the storylines had to be more or less made up on the spot. Much of the comedy is improvised, and improvised comedy is a notoriously difficult skill to master, so the fact that movies like this contain any laughs at all is something of a miracle. Having said that, Chaplin’s superiority over his co-star Sterling – whose entire repertoire seems to consist of pulling faces at the camera – is impossible to miss.

(Reviewed 19th April 2015)

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