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The Vagabond

Big the vagabond 1916 mutual
Year :
1916
Cast :
Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell, Leo White, Lloyd Bacon, Charlotte Mineau, Albert Austin, John Rand, James T. Kelly, Frank J. Coleman
Production :
Mutual
Description :
The Vagabond, Chaplin’s third Mutual film, was an important step in Chaplin’s career, in which he interweaves pathos as an integral part of the comedy. Indeed, The Vagabond is the prototype of The Kid (1921) and The Circus (1928). Chaplin employs the same romantic triangle seen in The Tramp (1915) that he would revisit again in Sunnyside (1919) and The Circus. He imposed an unlikely happy ending on The Vagabond, in which the gypsy drudge demands that the car she is being taken away be turned around to bring Charlie along with her. Legend has it that Chaplin originally intended the film to end with a scene in which Charlie attempts a watery suicide, is saved by an ugly farm woman, and plunges in again after one look at his rescuer. However, the few surviving outtakes from the film do not substantiate this claim. The Vagabond relies less on outright comedy than Chaplin’s earlier work. His direction of the film shows sensitivity and restraint in his treatment of the melodramatic material, such as the dramatic device of the lost child finally identified by her unique birthmark. Chaplin’s performance reveals great warmth and depth. Strains of The Vagabond appear in many of Chaplin’s later films. The film’s ambiguous ending regarding Charlie’s future with the girl and his care of her foreshadows Charlie’s future relationship with Jackie Coogan in The Kid. The cruel gypsy chief is the precursor of the cruel step-father of The Circus. The scenes in the film of Charlie as the violinist (particularly Charlie, in a musical frenzy, falling into a tub of water) anticipate Limelight (1952). The Vagabond clearly shows Chaplin’s development of the film elements that Chaplin would use throughout his career, particularly the blending of comedy and drama.
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