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One A.M

Big one am mutual
Year :
1916
Cast :
Charles Chaplin, Albert Austin
Production :
Mutual
Description :
One A.M., Chaplin’s fourth Mutual, is an impressive piece of virtuosity, a solo performance except for a brief appearance by Albert Austin as a taxi driver. The film is a tour de force of Chaplin’s superb pantomime and comic creativity performed in a restricted space, a brilliant experiment that he never repeated. Chaplin reportedly remarked, “One more film like that and it will be goodbye Charlie.” The film’s simple situation revolves around a drunken gentlemen as he arrives home early one morning and tries to get upstairs into bed. The bed sequence anticipates Buster Keaton’s use of such props—the yacht of The Boat (1921), the steamship in The Navigator (1924), and the train engine in The General (1926)—and Chaplin’s own treatise of humanity trapped in a world of machines, Modern Times (1936). Art director Scotty Cleethorpe designed the splendidly surreal set, and technical director Ed Brewer created the folding bed that Chaplin turned into a memorable foil. The film is not only a remarkable experiment, but also an invaluable record of Chaplin’s famous drunken character, earlier seen in the Fred Karno sketch Mumming Birds. He described what he thought made this type of drunk humorous in an article entitled “What People Laugh At,” published in American Magazine in 1918: *"Even funnier than the man who has been made ridiculous…is the man who, having had something funny happen to him, refuses to admit that anything out of the way has happened, and attempts to maintain his dignity. Perhaps the best example is the intoxicated man who, though his tongue and walk will give him away, attempts in a dignified manner to convince you that he is quite sober.* *He is much funnier than the man who, wildly hilarious, is frankly drunk and doesn’t care a whoop who knows it. Intoxicated characters on the stage are almost always “slightly tipsy” with an attempt at dignity because theatrical managers have learned that this attempt at dignity is funny."*
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